http://uk.news.yahoo.com/rtrs/20080128/ ... 7cb_1.html
Now I have a big issue with the statement "Anglo-Saxon markets remain stubbornly resistant to the comic strip and its movie adaptations". Yes it may be true for the films (most foreign language films struggle in English speaking territories) but no-way is it true for the comic books. Come on Mr Langmann, the English translations are hugely popular and successful. You do a disservice to English speaking Asterix fans with your comments I think.PARIS (Hollywood Reporter) - Six months before the Beijing Olympic Games get under way, Europe is about to catch a slightly different Olympic fever. "Asterix and the Olympic Games" hits screens across the Continent this week in what is thought to be the biggest print total ever for a European release, an Olympian 6,000 prints.
On its home turf, the French comic strip adaptation will have close to 1,000 prints in circulation as of January 30. Russia will have about 900, with more than 500 prints in the German circuit and nearly as many in both Spain and Italy.
Mimicking the Olympic motto of "faster, higher, stronger," the third instalment in the "Asterix" franchise has racked up superlatives since its inception. With a production budget of EUR78 million ($113 million), it is the most expensive French movie ever made. The six-month shoot in Spain's new Ciudad de la Luz studio complex was followed by lengthy postproduction to complete no fewer than 1,300 shots with special effects.
"Asterix and the Olympic Games" is adapted from the celebrated comic strips written by Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo about a band of uppity Gauls who refuse to bend to the Roman invaders, and whose resistance is helped by a strength-giving magic potion. In this outing, they travel to Olympia to compete in the Games and win the hand of a Greek princess.
Clovis Cornillac takes over the title role, replacing Christian Clavier, who starred in the first two big-screen adaptations, while Gerard Depardieu dons the fat suit again to reprise the role of sidekick Obelix. Alain Delon, Benoit Poelvoorde, Jamel Debbouze and a host of Gallic stars join the fray.
The producers have gone to great lengths to assure wide appeal in the core countries where Asterix is popular, enlisting Spain's Santiago Segura (writer/director/star of the "Torrente" series), hugely popular German comedy actor-director Michael "Bully" Herbig and Italian comics Paolo Kessisoglu and Luca Bizzarri.
Guest star appearances include soccer legend Zinedine Zidane, ex-Formula One champ Michael Schumacher, tennis ace Amelie Mauresmo and basketball wizard Tony Parker. Wrestling colossus Nathan Jones adds a bit of menace.
"The film was conceived from the start as a European one, with European stars," said co-writer and co-director Thomas Langmann, who admitted that the vast undertaking is "a bit of a crazy gamble."
Langmann's La Petite Reine produced the film with Pathe. Germany's Constantin and Spain's TriPictures served as co-producing partners.
With so much at stake, Pathe has embarked on an unprecedented marketing campaign for a Gallic film, spending about EUR4 million ($5.8 million) in France on a blaze of publicity that includes 15,000 billboards countrywide.
Langmann said the idea is to release the film in a U.S.-style wave of marketing, cross-promotion and licensed spinoffs. "McDonald's across the whole of Europe is involved, as are Nestle and Volkswagen. There are three books linked to the film, a comic strip, toys, video games -- it represents a lot of money," he said.
The two previous live-action adaptations, both produced by Pathe, were huge hits. "Asterix and Obelix versus Caesar," directed by Claude Zidi, drew 8.9 million admissions in France in 1999. Alain Chabat's follow-up, "Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra," sold almost 14.3 million tickets in 2002.
The third "Asterix" arrives after a year in which several ambitious French movies flopped badly.
Just as Asterix and his Gallic cohorts held out against the Romans, Anglo-Saxon markets remain stubbornly resistant to the comic strip and its movie adaptations. Pathe U.K. is planning to release "Asterix and the Olympic Games" on just three prints at a later date. "They'll have trouble even placing those," one U.K. distributor dealing in French fare predicted.
"The comic strip isn't popular in Anglo-Saxon countries," Langmann said. "It's a different culture."