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Friday, 1 February, 2002, 10:16 GMT
Asterix sequel scores first day hit
Asterix: Mission Cleopatra
Asterix 2 is France's second most expensive movie
The Asterix movie sequel has entered the French box office record books by selling the second largest number of tickets for a first day of release in the country's history.

The live action adventure - taken from the hugely popular strip cartoon books - sold 629,000 tickets in France on 30 January, reports trade magazine Screen Daily.

The French language film, which has the full title Asterix: Mission Cleopatre, also opened in a record 900 French cinemas.

Monica Bellucci
Monica Bellucci plays Cleopatre

But it failed to knock Taxi 2 from the top spot in the French record books. That film sold 759,000 tickets on its opening day in France on 29 March 2000.

Asterix: Mission Cleopatre is the follow-up to the 1999 French movie Asterix and Obelix, which sold 427,000 tickets on its first day.

It again stars Christian Clavier as the diminutive Gaul hero Asterix and Gerard Depardieu as his larger than life side-kick Obelix. Monica Bellucci plays Cleopatre.

In the movie, Asterix and Obelix go to Egypt to help architect Numerobis who is building a palace for Cleopatre.

Hollywood

In Paris alone the film, which at a cost of 50m euro (30m) is also the second most expensive film to be made in France, sold 102,611 tickets.

Taxi 2, from the celebrated French director Luc Besson, again holds the record in this field, having sold 113,101 tickets in Paris on its opening day.

The third first day best seller in Paris is the Hollywood space invaders blockbuster Independence Day, which sold 92,896 tickets.

In fourth place is Men In Black - another Hollywood sci-fi adventure - which sold 91,963 tickets.

Asterix: Mission Cleopatre uses computerised special effects to replicate the cartoon world of the original comic book series.

The film has been buoyed by good reviews and a major marketing blitz - which includes French outlets of McDonald's.

Distribution

Its release also takes place at a time when French cinema is enjoying renewed global success.

Amelie
Amelie has charmed foreign audiences

Two recent French films, Amelie and The Brotherhood Of The Wolves, have been major overseas hits - even in the US, normally resistant to foreign-language movies.

And the movie's predecessor, Asterix And Obelix, made 117m euros (71m), without even being seen in the US.

Last year Miramax bought the US distribution rights for the film - and for the new Asterix vehicle, then in production.

A release date for the movie in the US has not been scheduled.

See also:

20 Dec 01 | Showbiz
McDonald's takes on Asterix
20 Jun 01 | Arts
Asterix conquers the Russians
22 Mar 01 | Europe
Bove loses McDonald's raid appeal
22 Mar 01 | Reviews
Asterix acts up
15 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Asterix punches his way back
14 Mar 01 | Europe
Asterix back in the bookshops
04 Feb 99 | Entertainment
The magic runs out for Asterix
22 Jan 02 | Film
Amelie charms US box office
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