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PARIS – Jean Dujardin is sleeping with success in France with The Artist star’s raunchy comedy about infidelity The Players at the top of the French box office and the second best film opening of the year.
Spring is off to a blossoming start for the actor whose name literally means “Of the Garden” in French. The Artist, re-released at the end of February just before the film swept both the Cesar and Academy Awards, currently holds the number two spot at the French box office.
The Players raised eyebrows when posters for the film featuring the actor in a compromising position between a woman’s legs were pulled by French atuthorities and deemed anti-feminist. The short-lived scandal proved only positive for the film that has sold 1.08 million tickets during its first week of release, the second best opening of the year behind another Gallic comedy, franchise La Verite Si Je Mens 3. The Players managed to top the box office even on only 501 screens, that distributor Mars expanded to 550 on Wednesday. The film is a compilation of vignettes from seven different directors including The Artist helmer Michel Hazanavicius and Pour Elle’s Fred Cavaye, all focusing on the central theme of infidelity.
Right behind Dujardin at the box office is Dujardin. The Artist has expanded to 580 screens and now boasts 2.7 million admissions in the territory.
Dujardin has also been lighting the web on fire with his new Funnyordie video promoting a fictional line of Jean Dujardin cigarettes. Less than a minute long, the ad sees Dujardin riding in a car saying “smoking : it’s the coolest thing around,” and ending with “Smoking doesn’t kill: I do.” The video, complete with surgeon general’s warning telling viewers not to let Dujardin’s charms sway them to smoke, has been a web sensation. Dujardin’s charms may not be able to sway American audiences to smoke, but the Weinstein Company hopes they’ll sway them into theaters to see The Players, which the company will release stateside.
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