Box Office ReportFeature Film

‘The Red Turtle’ Brings In Nearly Half-Million Dollars In First Week in France

Numbers are in for the first week of Michael Dudok de Wit’s wordless gem The Red Turtle, which launched in its home country, France, on June 29.

The film, known as La Tortue Rouge to the French, opened in ninth place, picking up $466,321 from 149 theaters. Its $3,130 per-theater average was the fifth best among France’s top ten films. A total of 79,745 admissions were sold for the film throughout the week.

So, what do the numbers mean? Compared to the Hollywood fare that is released in France, less than half-a-million sounds unimpressive. By comparison, the first full weekend of Pixar’s Finding Dory in France brought in a haul of $4.7 million, and the film has grossed $10.6 million to date.

While not reaching the box office heights of a big-budget American animated feature, The Red Turtle actually performed decently for a French animated feature. French producers have struggled tremendously in the last few years trying to find audiences for original animated films that don’t follow the standard American animation playbook. A recent article (in French) highlighted the regrettably low admission numbers for five recent French animated films that are considered to have underperformed:

Adama: 65,000 admissions
Dofus – Book 1: Julith: 84,000 admissions
April and the Extraordinary World: 117,000 admissions
Phantom Boy: 151,000 admissions
Long Way North: 200,000 admissions

By this standard, The Red Turtle’ nearly 80,000 admissions in its first week is a hopeful sign. The film’s co-production status with Japan’s famed Studio Ghibli no doubt gave the film a name-recognition boost. Dudok de Wit’s film even beat the French openings of Ghibli’s last couple of homegrown efforts: When Marnie was There ($305,581 opening) and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya ($379,807). However, it didn’t come anywhere close to Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises, which launched with nearly $2 million in January 2014.

The Red Turtle will open later this year in the United States through Sony Pictures Classics. The film won a special jury prize at Cannes in May.

Prima Linea Productions handled the animation production on Red Turtle and Wild Bunch released the film in France. Other companies involved in the production and financing of the film besides Studio Ghibli include Why Not Productions, Arte France Cinema, CN4 Productions, and Belvision.

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