Warner Bros' French outpost has scored its best opening day ever with a local film, La Verite Si Je Mens 2: La Grande Distribution, which has also become the second biggest opener in French box office history, with 503,582 tickets sold on February 7.
The sequel to the 1997 hit comedy, released on 827 prints, is on its way to becoming Warner Bros France's biggest ever film, ahead of Dead Poets Society, which racked up 5.5 million admissions, and The Matrix, with 5 million. The original Verite also sold 5 million tickets.
The record for France's biggest ever opener is held by another French film - the Luc Besson-produced Taxi 2 - which sold 802,000 tickets on its opening day on 836 prints.
La Verite is part of a three-title deal between Warner France, headed by Francis Boespflug, and French production company Vertigo. Boespflug - a former Gaumont top executive who took over Warner France from Steve Rubin in March 1997 and revived the US major's local production and pick-up activities through off-shoot PECF - acquired French, Belgium and Swiss rights to La Verite last year. PECF had previously bailed out Vertigo by boarding futuristic drama Peut-Etre, directed by Cedric Klapisch, for which the production company had trouble wrapping up financing.
Boepflug also scored a hit last year with Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (1.7 million ticket sold), which Warner France boarded at script stage. France is the only territory for which Warner acquired the potential Oscar winner.
PECF's previous local and European co-productions and pick-ups have included, among others, Claude Miller's Cannes title La Classe De Neige, Graham Guit's Les Kidnappeurs, Patrick Schulman's Comme Une Bete and Marcel Bluwal's Le Plus Beau Pays Du Monde, as well as German title Tarzan And The Lost City, a Cinevox/Village Roadshow production starring Casper Van Diem.