'Minimoys' making big noise at b.o.


PARIS -- Luc Besson's long-awaited "Arthur and the Minimoys" premiered on 956 screens in France on Wednesday, amassing a total of 316,026 tickets sold on opening day, distributor Europacorp said Thursday. The opening followed 15 days of successful advanced screenings at the Grand Rex in Paris.

The film broke boxoffice records, with 11,281 tickets sold at 25 screens in Paris alone by 2 p.m. The feature, which took five years and more than €65 million ($85.9 million) to complete, is an adaptation of Besson's book of the same title. It tells the story of ten-year-old Arthur on a quest for a hidden treasure in the land of the Minimoys, a people so tiny they are almost invisible.

A combination of live-action and CGI courtesy of Gallic special effects house Buf Compagnie, the film stars Mia Farrow and Freddie Highmore and features the voices of Madonna, David Bowie and Snoop Dog.

Arthur and the Minimoys encompasses the first two chapters of Besson's four-part saga ("Arthur and the Minimoys" and "Arthur and the Forbidden City"). The second two chapters ("The Vengeance of Maltazard" and "Arthur and the War of the Two Worlds") are already in pre-production despite Besson's claims that Wednesday's release will be his final film.