French welcome Boon's 'Ch'tis' to land of No. 1


CANNES -- France has a new local boxoffice king. "Bienvenue Chez Les Ch'tis," Dany Boon's comedy of country manners, became Gaul's all-time ticket sales champ over the weekend, displacing previous record holder Gerard Oury's World War II-set comedy "La Grande Vadrouille."

As of Sunday night, "Ch'tis" had sold 17.4 million tickets since its Feb. 27 release, edging past "Vadrouille's" 42-year-old record of 17.3 million.

The film's distributor, Pathe, now has its sights set on breaking the boxoffice record set by "Titanic" in 1997 with 20.6 million admissions.

Boon's second feature co-stars Kad Merad and Zoe Felix in a story about a postal worker transferred from the South of France to a small Northern town where he discovers the unusual customs of its population. "Ch'tis" will open the COL COA French film festival in Los Angeles on April 14 and director Boon is hoping to sell remake rights to Hollywood.