Asterix films are traditionally big winners at the French box office, although the most recent ones have been live-action and seen some decrease in traction. The latest, Asterix: The Mansions Of The Gods, is a 3D animated adaptation of the comic books created by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. SND released the picture on November 26 on 696 screens with first-week grosses today coming in at a huge 6.2M euros ($7.64M) from nearly 780K admissions. The opening bests previous local performances of such animated hits as Frozen, Tangled, Monsters, Inc, and Cars. It was No. 1 at the weekend, topping the second frame of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and the fourth session for Interstellar. The first week puts it just behind Guardians Of The Galaxy and above Captain America: The Winter Soldier on the 2014 chart and makes it the 3rd biggest opening for a French animated film ever. The last Asterix movie, 2012’s Asterix & Obelix: God Save Britannia, topped out at 3.875M admissions.
After a pretty fallow 2013, this has been an incredibly strong year at the French box office for local films. There are five in the Top 10 led by runaway successes Qu’Est-ce Qu’On A Fait Au Bon Dieu?!, Supercondriaque and Lucy in the top three spots. Also in the mix are Samba, from the directors of The Intouchables, and Les Vacances Du Petit Nicolas. Hollywood movies, nevertheless, are maintaining a slight lead over French films with 46.9% of the market versus 44.7%. Overall, box office was up 11.4% over 2013 in the first 10 months of the year.
Asterix‘s screen count will remain the same in week two and is expected to hold through the Christmas holidays. No mean feat in France where last week saw 21 theatrical releases. Week two could be tough, however, as Paddington arrives along with a period crime drama starring Jean Dujardin.
Louis Clichy, an animator on Pixar’s Up and Wall-E, directs Asterix with Alexandre Astier. The film has received four- and five-star reviews and sees the eponymous hero and pal Obelix attemp to thwart Caesar’s plans of wiping out the last remaining Gaul village by wooing the inhabitants with a luxury Roman real-estate development.
The film opened simultaneously in Belgium, via eOne, and Switzerland, via Pathé, with similar results. Russia, the Baltics, the Netherlands, Turkey and Greece will see it in the coming weeks and Germany releases in February. SND has worldwide sales. The Asterix character is lesser known in the States where two previous films have been released.
Here’s a subtitled trailer for Asterix: The Mansions Of The Gods: