Asterix routs rivals at box office

AFTER SUCCESSFULLY re-sisting the Romans for 40 years, Asterix the Gaul and his monumental sidekick, Obelix, have defied all the odds - and the treachery of the French movie critics - to defeat the massed legions of Hollywood.

Despite a series of stinking reviews in the French press, the first Asterix movie with live actors, including Gerard Depardieu as Obelix, has had a triumphant first two weeks at the box office. In its first week, the movie, Asterix et Obelix Contre Cesar, broke the French attendance record, with 2,718,443 tickets sold. By the end of its second week it had reached 4.3 million, well on the way to the 10 million target set by its producer.

The feisty little cartoon-book Celt and his dim friend are fighting a rearguard action in defence of French - and European - cinematic culture, almost as desperate as the Gaulish resistance to the Romans 2,000 years ago. At pounds 27m, the movie is the most expensive made in France. It carries the hopes of the entire French cinema sector, the only fully functioning such industry still surviving in Europe.

Attendance at French films in France fell below 30 per cent of the total audience for the first time last year, largely because of the success of the Hollywood blockbuster Titanic and several American full-length cartoons.

The French industry was counting on the Asterix movie to reverse this trend and to prove that it was not doomed to become a bit player even in its domestic cinemas.

The film, supported by French, German and Belgian money, with French, German and Italian actors, was viciously received by the French movie critics. They said it was clumsy, too dependent on Hollywood-style, computer-generated special effects and, unkindest cut of all, not very funny. Most adults who have seen the movie tend to agree. Children and adolescents, the main target audiences, do not care.

As the movie's producer, Claude Berri (Jean de Florette) said, the cerebral, slow-moving, sensitively-acted movies praised by French critics tend to vanish at the box office, even in France.He said the panning of Asterix was a good sign. And so it proved.

Asterix et Obelix Contre Cesar now benefits from the French school holidays, and should flourish for at least two more weeks. It has beaten main chief rival for the children's audience, the Disney-distributed A Bug's Life, into a poor second place.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Developer - London - £45k

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Application Support & Development ...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003