It is the seventh best start of all time for a French film. "Asterix and Obelix: The Middle Kingdom" was one of the most anticipated French films of the beginning of the year. Despite the harsh and bad reviews, the film had the best start in 15 years, with 466,703 tickets sold in France on Wednesday February 1.
The most famous of the Gauls slightly edged the numbers for Dany Boon's "La Ch'tite famille", which had 451,530 admissions on its first day in 2018, according to CBO box office figures. However, it does not exceed the success of another Dany Boon film, "Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis", released in 2008 and which had 558,359 admissions.
Eleven years after "Asterix and Obelix: in the service of His Majesty" (3.8 million admissions), the film was a challenge for its director Guillaume Canet, who also succeeds Édouard Baer in the costume of Asterix. Guillaume Canet posted in story on his Instagram account, a screenshot with the box office figures of the films in French, adding "Thank you".
The film was released on February 1 in French cinemas. "'Asterix and Obelix' is a franchise that is known all over the world [and] the film is already sold almost everywhere," except in China, Guillaume Canet told Agence France-Presse. "I want it to be seen all over the world, especially because, compared to French cinema, it would be great for a film of this size to work for there to be others", continues -he.
Risky bet of an XXL casting
After "Don't Tell Anyone" and the success of "Little Handkerchiefs", one of the most popular figures in French cinema is tackling his first blockbuster, and a national monument. "It was far from what I knew how to do!" The special effects, the huge battle scenes… I wondered if I was going to be able to do it,” he recalls. Sign of the interest that the film arouses, it has been pre-financed by Netflix, which will be able to distribute it abroad.
Asterix is heading for China in "The Middle Empire", making the risky bet of an XXL casting, where Gilles Lellouche and Marion Cotillard rub shoulders with stars of football, rap and YouTube.
We needed actors that people "like", explains Guillaume Canet, in this case "very popular" personalities, who speak in particular to young people who no longer go to cinemas as much. "Great films like this represent the joy, the celebration of making cinema in a very free and very broad way, without chapel, without family, without compartmentalization", adds Gilles Lellouche.
However, it will be difficult to do better than "Mission Cleopatra" (2002), Alain Chabat's success with more than 14 million admissions, and replicas that have become cult.