Magazine article Screen International

EuropaCorp Builds a 'Monster' Animated Hit

Magazine article Screen International

EuropaCorp Builds a 'Monster' Animated Hit

Article excerpt

Year-long marketing campaign and 617-screen opening catapults Bibo Bergeron's A Monster in Paris into second place in the French box office chart for first five days on release. Events included live concert featuring Sean Lennon and Vanessa Paradis.

Bibo Bergeron's feature-length animation A Monster in Paris finally hit French theatres last week, six years after the director first started developing the project on his return to France from Hollywood where he made Shark Tale.

EuropaCorp, which boarded the project in late 2009, has pulled out all the stops to ensure the success of its first family-oriented, 3D, CGI picture since the final instalment of Luc Besson's Arthur trilogy last year.

"This is an important film for us but it is also a significant movie for the French film industry as a whole in that it's a French-produced animation by a French director competing with CGI movies from the likes of Dreamworks, Disney and Pixar," said chief marketing officer Franco de Cesare.

Set against the backdrop of the flooding of central Paris in 1910, the story revolves around the relationship between beautiful cabaret singer Lucille and a monster on the run from the police.

Singer-actress Vanessa Paradis voices Lucille opposite actor Gad Merad and French pop star Mathieu Chédid in the French version and Adam Goldberg and Sean Lennon in the English-language version.

EuropaCorp scheduled the release for Oct 12 to coincide with the mid-term school holidays which start on Oct 21, as well as to avoid clashing with Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn which comes out Oct 26 in France.

"It was a very competitive week. There were four big movies opening: A Monster, The Artist, The Three Musketeers and Beur sur la ville," said de Cesare.

Marketing manager Benjamin Cléry-Melin, who has been working on the picture for almost a year, kicked off the public campaign shortly after Cannes.

"We wanted awareness of the film to be very high by the end of the summer," he told Screen. "We needed to be wherever the kids were."

To that end, the first trailer was in cinemas as early as the end of May to benefit from the release of Kung Fu Panda, followed by Cars 2 and The Smurfs.

In June, the company targeted professionals at the Annecy Animation Festival with a screening of the trailer and performance by pop star Chédid, who wrote the soundtrack.

"Mathieu soundtrack is a key component of the film and we've played on this throughout the campaign," said Cléry-Melin.

In mid-August, a nationwide poster campaign, including prominent placements in 750 train stations, kicked off across France. …

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