Box Office: 'Wolf of Wall Street' Seduces French Audiences

French audiences -- far more forgiving than Americans when it comes to seeing sex and drugs on the big screen -- are flocking to see The Wolf of Wall Street.

Martin Scorsese's film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as infamous Wall Street bad-boy Jordan Belfort, has grossed $15.2 million since debuting in France on Christmas Day, an exceptional number and already one of Scorsese's best showings, not accounting for inflation. His last film, Hugo, earned $9.6 million in France, while The Departed took in roughly $14 million and Shutter Island, $26.4 million.

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That's not to say that Wolf is doing badly in North America, where it has grossed north of $68 million since its Dec. 25 launch for Paramount and Red Granite Pictures. Nevertheless, the movie has sparked widespread debate because of its numerous scenes of drug use and sex, and is doing far better on the East Coast and West Coast than it is in America's heartland.

Red Granite fully financed the $100 million film and sold off foreign rights to independent distributors, including to Metropolitan in France (Paramount is only marketing and releasing Wolf of Wall Street in North America).

Wolf, starring DiCaprio opposite Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie, has yet to roll out in much of the rest of the world, although it has launched in a handful of smaller territories in addition to France. Its total foreign gross is approaching $20 million, including earnings of $824,000 in Greece. It's also doing very well in Poland, Finland and Hungary.

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Scorsese's movie is up for best picture in the comedy and musical category at Sunday's Golden Globes ceremony. Paramount and Red Granite also are making a major Oscar push, with nominations set to be announced on Jan. 16.

"We are thrilled with the numbers and ranking in all territories. We feel our film has legs and will not only continue perform well in theaters, but will stand the tests of time. In regards to awards, our fingers are crossed we bring home some trophies," said Red Granite's Riza Aziz and Joey McFarland.

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