At the moment, the most successful film ever released in France is Titanic, which sold 20.7 million tickets back in 1998. But any day now, a new movie will break that record, and the best part for French cinephiles is that it's actually a French film. It's called Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis, and its phenomenal success in its homeland -- 20 million tickets represents nearly one-third of the country's population -- has brought Hollywood a-knockin' for remake rights.

Warner Bros. and Will Smith's Overbook Entertainment have bought the rights, according to both The Hollywood Reporter and Variety, with Smith and partner James Lassiter set to produce the remake. The French film is a comedy about a post office clerk reassigned from his cushy Southern France office to a branch in the northern boonies where the locals speak an incomprehensible dialect. Sounds like your typical fish-out-of-water stuff, but French audiences have gone crazy for it.

Details on the remake, which will go by the original's international title of Welcome to the Sticks, aren't known yet. For example, is Will Smith going to star in it, or just produce? He has starred in several of Overbrook Entertainment's productions (including the upcoming Hancock), so maybe that's a good sign. I could see him in a light comedy about a guy who's suddenly thrown out of his element.

I just hope whoever writes the remake doesn't go the obvious route of having a Manhattanite exiled to the Deep South. My suggestion: Make it a Midwesterner who's sent to the depths of rural New England, where the WASPy aloofness and peculiah diahlect baffle him. Like TV's Newhart, only with Will Smith. Just a suggestion.
categories Movies, Cinematical