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The Johnny English challenge


Peter Howitt’s British spy spoof, Johnny English [+see also:
film profile
has come to the end of its European journey with today’s release onto 325 French screens by courtesy of Mars Distribution.
It will be interesting to see just how Gallic audiences take to typically British humour in this Rowan Atkinson vehicle that also stars John Malkovich, especially since it is being released just as French audiences are deserting the cinema in droves. This was a source of great apprehension to Gallic distributors adn the reason why this title is only now seeing the light of day in that country: having been released throughout most of Europe in April. Their uncertainty was not helped by the lambasting French critics reserved for this example of typically British humour and in fact caused them to reduce the original run of 400/500 prints to 325.
Produced by Working Title Films, the people behind Four Weddings and A Funeral, Bridget Jones Diary and Billy Elliot, Johnny English took €28m at the UK box offic and now it remains to be seen whether the James Bond’s clumsy cousin can hold his own in the face of stiff competition from US blockbusters currently dominating the French market.
There is just one French title is also scheduled for release today: Mes enfants ne sont pas comme les autres , with Richard Berry. Distribuited onto 70 Gallic screens by Ocean Films, Denis Dercourt’s third feature was produced by Les Films à Un Dollar and coproduced by Roissy Films, Cipango SN and Belgium’s Panache Productions.

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(Translated from French)

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