News culture Lit by the critics, Asterix and Obelix: the Empire of the Middle is a hit in the cinema
Published on 06/02/2023 at 19:39
We often believe that criticism goes hand in hand with the success or otherwise of a work, but we generally forget that all tastes are in nature. While the two famous Gauls and their friends have been in theaters for a few days, we cannot say that the returns from the specialized press are the most tender. With the exception of a few dailies and magazines, the opinions are sharp and not lighthearted. Clearly, the film by Guillaume Canet takes a hell of a slap in the face of Obélix and it was feared that the spectators would not adhere to the proposal of the French actor, producer, screenwriter and director. Quite the opposite is happening…
Whether we like Asterix and Obelix: The Middle Kingdom or not, there is one reality that does not deceive: the film is a hit at the local box office. For the first day of broadcast, Guillaume Canet’s blockbuster (we are talking about a budget of 65 million euros) is off to a formidable start in theaters. Mistreated by the pandemic and put on hold, the feature film by Pathé (the distributor) could have been picked up after sometimes very harsh criticism, but we have to believe that the buzz surrounding its arrival worked. At the end of the first day of exhibition, Asterix and Obelix: the Middle Kingdom attracted 466,703 spectators – including 275,658 in previews – and thus achieved the best start of a French film for 10 years.
Announced 4 years ago, the film ranks second behind Alain Chabat’s cult Cleopatra Mission (629,148 admissions on the first day of release) and ahead of Asterix at the Olympic Games (464,724 spectators at the launch of the feature film ).
Welcome to the Ch’tis always in the lead
If the Middle Empire is ahead of the film La Ch’tite Famille by Dany Boon, it has not managed to dislodge the very popular Welcome to the Ch’tis by the same director from first place. On the evening of February 27, 2008, Dany Boon’s comedy had recorded 558,559 admissions and it remains the French film with the most admissions in France with 20.48 million spectators. With the school holidays looming (or already underway depending on the area), there is no doubt that Asterix and Obelix should have no trouble convincing the youngest viewers. From there to reach 20 million admissions for Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis, it seems very difficult, but it is obvious that Canet’s film will continue to nibbling places. New figures should fall regularly and we will not fail to keep you informed of the new performances of this humorous fresco intended (but not only) for the Tik Tok generation.
Some will believe, rightly or wrongly, that this success is not deserved, but it is worth remembering, at the risk of making some people scream, that all of Hollywood is currently facing a tough dilemma. Many of the local cinematic hits are Marvel films, while works by masters like Spielberg or Del Toro struggle to exist. Several observers have been sounding the alarm for years, but if cinema wants to fight, it will have to reinvent itself.
Leave a Reply