France Box Office: Opera Film Beats 'Compton' in Opening-Week Ticket Sales

Courtesy of Memento Films

'Marguerite' sold more tickets than the NWA biopic, which has been a massive hit worldwide, in a music showdown.

French moviegoers preferred opera over Ice Cube as music films Marguerite and Straight Outta Compton went head-to-head in their first weeks in release in the country.

French drama Marguerite, based on a true story about a wealthy socialite with misguided opera ambitions, filled 264,000 seats across the country, making it the top ticket seller in France for the period. F. Gary Gray’s rap drama followed with 220,000 tickets sold in the week ending Sept. 23.

The Dr. Dre and Easy-E biopic held the top spot at the U.S box office for three weeks and has taken in $159 million worldwide so far.

Xavier Giannoli’s Marguerite, which premiered in Venice, had been in the running as the country’s submission for the best foreign-language Oscar, but failed to make the cut.

The Anthony Hopkins and Colin Farrell thriller Solace fell 42 percent from its debut and came in third in its second week of release with 192,000 tickets sold, according to data from Rentrak-CineChiffres. French industry observers focus on tickets sold instead of box-office revenue.

Guy Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E debuted in fourth place, selling 152,000 tickets nationwide. It was the second-worst debut for Ritchie in France, following 2008’s RockNRolla, which opened with only 54,000 tickets sold.

Coming in fifth was The Transporter Refueled. It fell 47 percent selling 139,000 tickets in its second week of release, for a total of 401,000 tickets in two weeks. The Transporter reboot is a French production from Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp.

Further down the list, Nabil Ayouch’s Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight drama Much Loved, which has been banned in his native Morocco, brought in 78,000 spectators in its first week.

French disgust with disgraced Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong seemed to carry over to Stephen Frears' film The Program, with only 55,000 moviegoers interested in reliving the steroid saga that played out in newspapers and on television in France for years. The Program is a French-British co-production from StudioCanal.

The average ticket price in France was $7.23 (€6.42) in 2014, according to film financing body National Cinema Center (CNC).

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