It’s the week of the Gauls. This Wednesday, February 1st, Asterix and Obelix: The Middle Empire, directed by Guillaume Canet, is released in theaters. A comedy that has been highly anticipated and publicized for several weeks with interviews (television news, special programs), previews (at the Grand Rex on January 15, Marseille on January 29, etc.) and cult classics rebroadcast on television.
As on TF1, this Monday, January 30, 2023, where viewers found the adventures of Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra. 21 years after its cinema release, the film directed by Alain Chabat has lost none of its popularity, attracting an average of 4.98 million viewers according to figures from Médiamétrie, relayed by Puremedias. The comedy signs the fourth success in the history of the French box office with more than 14 million spectators (between January 30 and May 6).
Two comedies, two different eras and above all two emblematic duos of French cinema. On the one hand, we find Christian Clavier and Gérard Depardieu, debuting together in 1998 (Asterix and Obelix against Jules Caesar). On the other, we discover Guillaume Canet under the small blond mustache of Asterix and Gilles Lellouche endorsing the braids and good nature of the famous Obélix. And yet, nothing predestined the director, who will celebrate his 50th birthday this year, to take over the role of this irreducible Gaul.
“Initially, I did not even intend to play Asterix. I wanted to play Caesar”, revealed the companion of Marion Cotillard in Télé 7 Jours. “It was a discussion with Gilles during the holidays that allowed me to see things differently. He said to me: ‘Are you sure you want to play César, with Marion as Cleopatra? You are not going to fall back into this what you did with Rock’n’roll'”, details the one who shared the screen with his half in this comedy released in 2017. On the advice of his accomplice, the actor and director chose another star of the seventh French art, the son of Jean-Pierre Cassel. “I then thought of Vincent Cassel to embody this depressive Caesar that I adored”.
With an unprecedented plot in the Middle Empire and a five-star cast, will the new fiction from the universe of Asterix experience the same success as the Egyptian epic? Before the film’s release tomorrow, many fans have decided and given their opinion after seeing the preview of the new opus or watching the Alain Chabat classic. Here are some opinions of Internet users, shared between the two comedies, on social networks.
“If I were Guillaume Canet, I would be afraid to release my film and end up with crocodiles after seeing Alain Chabat’s Masterclass again”, jokes this Internet user on Twitter, rather seduced by the first opus. For another user, “It’s easier to draw inspiration from a successful comic book like Asterix and Obelix Mission Cleopatra to make a film than to invent a story like Asterix and Obelix The Middle Kingdom which shows the shock of two cultures”. Or the latter wondering about the choice of distribution of the two comedies. “So certainly, there is no good or bad situation… But is the broadcast of the masterful Asterix and Obelix Mission Cleopatra on TF1 this evening not the worst news for Guillaume Canet at 2 days of the release of his film?” Answer tomorrow morning as soon as the first admissions of the feature film in theaters are announced…