Attendance at the “Amandiers” slowed down by the Sofiane Bennacer affair

The film The Almond Trees by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, in theaters since November 16, is suffering from the Sofiane Bennacer affair. This actor, who plays one of the main roles, has been indicted for rape and violence against several former companions, as revealed The Parisian November 22before Release devotes its front page to it three days later. This feature film, which traces the boiling of the theater school directed by Patrice Chéreau in Nanterre in the 1980s, had been selected in official competition at the last Cannes Film Festival and benefited from an important promotional campaign and critics positive.

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According to Alexandra Henochsberg, president of Ad Vitam, both distributor and co-producer of the film with Agat Films, sixteen theaters out of 411 had taken Thursday 1er December, the decision to deprogram this feature film or not to program it when they initially intended to do so. L’Écran de Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis), Le Concorde de La Roche-sur-Yon (Vendée) or Le Jean-Marais du Vésinet (Yvelines) have thus explained on their Facebook pages that they removed from the poster. The Jean-Marais team specifies: “We cannot remain silent in the face of this news. (…). We support the plaintiffs: it is important to hear and receive this word. » Ad Vitam had indicated, Sunday, November 27, to the operators: “Know that in this situation, we understand and respect all the positions and decisions that you will take regarding the exploitation of the film in your room. »

Relativized shock wave

The Almond Trees, whose budget is around 4 million euros, i.e. the average amount of a French film, recorded, according to Comscore, 104,057 admissions in the first week of operation, from November 16 to 22 (counting the 8,543 spectators previews). In its second week, it attracted 54,408 spectators. “It was from Monday November 28 that entries really fell”explains the president of Ad Vitam. “The impact is not seen overnight, but after four to five days”she says. “This case clearly has repercussions for the career of the film”adds Alexandra Henochsberg, “not only theatrical admissions, but also DVD sales and video on demand”. She now expects the film to attract “good year, bad year 200,000 spectators”, where she expected “300,000”.

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Eric Marti, CEO of Comscore puts the shock wave of the Bennacer affair into perspective. “It’s not a tumble or a total disaffection in the second week. An erosion certainly but a result in line with the declines of other comparable films this same week, such as Armageddon Time by James Gray (-35%), The Cairo Conspiracy by Tarik Saleh (-38%), Masquerade by Nicolas Bedos (-41%) or even Close by Lukas Dhont (-48%)”, he said. Other important indicators according to him, the average viewers per screen, all cumulative sessions during the first week only fell from 387 to 326 in the second week.

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