Luc Besson's 'Lucy' Tops French Box Office

4:48 AM PST 08/14/2014 by Rhonda Richford
'Lucy'

The Scarlett Johansson sci-fi action thriller marks a career-best opening for the director

After besting Hercules at the U.S. box office with a $44 million debut, Lucy dominated French screens in its opening week with 1.94 million tickets sold, marking a career-best for director Luc Besson.

Lucy launched on 615 screens, with a 3,157 average per screen, and the sci-fi thriller held a national market share of 40 percent. Films typically open on Wednesdays in France, and the opening day was also huge for Besson, with 351,000 entries and a 43 percent market share on Aug. 6. 

The Scarlett Johansson-starrer overshadowed Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which fell 51 percent in its second week with 849,000 tickets sold. Matt Reeves' ape epic has brought in over 2.5 million tickets since its release. 

Lucy marked a career-best opening for Besson, beating 1997’s The Fifth Element, which opened with 1.8 million viewers and went on to sell over 7.7 million tickets.

Besson’s English-language Lucy was the second-strongest opening of the year, behind the homegrown comedy Supercondriaque, which was boosted by local favorites Dany Boon and Kad MeradSupercondriaque sold 2.15 million tickets its opening week back in February and went on to put more than 5.2 million viewers in seats.

The Zac Efron and Seth Rogen comedy Neighbors — titled Our Worst Neighbors here — was also released this week, taking third place behind Lucy and Dawn of Planet of the Apes with 310,000 tickets sold on 301 screens. French-language animated animal comedy Operation Nutcracker came in fourth with 290,000 on 405 screens.

Fifth-place finisher Qu'est-ce qu'on a fait au bon Dieu? has proven a slow burner for French audiences. The political-religious comedy rounded out the box office this week with 216,000 entries, but has hauled in 1.1 million tickets over the 12 weeks it’s been in French theaters.

The epic three-hour Palme d’Or winner Winter Sleep also opened against Lucy, but came in 10th with just over 80,000 tickets sold for the Turkish drama.

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