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INDUSTRY France

Gaumont still in the red

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After the French colossus Gaumont (production, distribution and cinema group) showed loss of €2.6 million for the period covering the first six months of 2003. The negative balance can certainly be blamed on the drop in French cinema audiences noted since the start of this year which is affecting theatre owners, but it is also due to a political production strategy that still hasn’t delivered the hoped-for success.

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Gaumont produced 3 films in 2002, and this year it intended to increase this figure to 5 films. But if Père et Fils by Michel Boujenah and Qui a tué Pamela Rose? filled cinemas, with respective audiences of 1.04 million and 929,000, the dreadful performance of Lovely Rita (an audience of 90,000 for its 392 prints on release in the first week) starring Christian Clavier, and the fiasco surrounding of Fureur by Karim Dridi (an audience of 35,000) last April, have added a heavy burden to the company’s economic fortunes.
So, Gaumont has decided to add a deficit of €5.2 million for the film Lovely Rita to its losses for 2003, since the box office receipts will certainly not cover the film’s budget of €13.32 million. As far as production is concerned, the company is hoping to improve its balance sheet with the new film by Claude Zidi, Ripoux 3 starring Philippe Noiret and Thierry Lhermitte, set to be released in December. Its also looking to the future with filming starting on the new work by Alain Berberian L’enquête corse starring Jean Reno and Christian Clavier.

(Translated from French)

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