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The Chouchou Phenomenon


- French audiences vote with their feet for this tale of north African immigration, and for comedies in general. This film by Algeria's Allouache is N°1 at the box office after 5 weeks out

The Chouchou Phenomenon

Five weeks after it went on general release , Chouchou by Algerian director, Merzak Allouache (Bab-El-Oued City) and starring Gad Elmaleh and Alain Chabat, is still number one at the French box office, seen by over 3 million filmgoers. There is no doubt that Chouchou is the film of the year.
Produced by Les Films Christian Fechner, and co-produced by KS2 Production, Chouchou was released by Warner France onto 402 screens on 19 March and subsequently extended to 567 in its fifth week. The reception given this film took everyone by surprise, especially in light of the huge number of films released concurrently and stiff competition from a number of French comedies like ( Bienvenue chez les roses , Laisse tes mains sur mes hanches and Bom Voyage [+see also:
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Chouchou was also the second film that Gad Elmaleh made with Merzak Allouache (the first being the 1996 Salut Cousin that was seen by 50,000 French filmgoers). This film also confirmed the talent of Elmaleh, an artist whose one-man-shows have a huge popular following in France, as a film actor. The rest of the cast : Claude Brasseur, Roschdy Zem, Catherine Frot and specially Alain Chabat, who has the rare talent of transforming any film he appears in into an instant success, also contributed to pull in the public. Chabat enjoys equal success as a director, as he proved with his domestic blockbuster, Asterix and Obelix : Mission Cleopatra).

Chouchou did well all over France and is the result of a four-film deal signed in May 2002 between producer Christian Fechner and Warner France. It also confirms the current popularity of comedies. Since January 2003, five French films were in the Top 10 at the box office, and they were all comedies : Taxi 3 came top with 6.1 million tickets sold, Chouchou placed 4th, preceded by The Jungle Book 2 (2nd) and Arrête moi si tu peux (3rd). La Beuze came 7th with 1.9 milllion tickets sold, followed by 18 ans après with its 1.5 million entries and Rire et châtiments 10th with 1.1 million.

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(Translated from French)

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