In 2008, Danny Boon directed his most cult film: “Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis”. Initially, in the face of the success of the film, the United States prepared a remake. But the project never materialized. Find out why.
Welcome to the Ch’tis : the biggest French success
Two years later The House of happiness, the budding filmmaker Dany Boon embarks on the production of Welcome to the Ch’tis. What he did not know yet was that his work would become an unprecedented national success story. Worn by Kad Merad and himself, Welcome to the Ch’tis becomes, in 2008, the film with the most admissions in the history of French cinema. The feature film thus beats the record previously held by The big mop. Dany Boon then accumulates 20,489,303 entries (against 17,267,607 for Gérard Oury’s film). Still today, Welcome to the Ch’tis holds the record.
According to Pathé, nearly 2 million spectators saw the film in Nord and Pas-de-Calais alone. That’s roughly half of the region’s population. Faced with the triumph of the film, Bergues, the main city of the feature film, has become an unexpected tourist spot. Even 10 years after the Ch’tis phenomenon, many tourists came every year to discover the locations of the filming. Counting 2000 visitors per year before 2008, the Bergues carillon has been taken by storm since the film’s release since it counted 35,000 visitors until 2010, then an average of 20,000 customers per year since then (before the COVID crisis of course).
But where is the American remake?
At the international box office, Welcome to the Ch’tis has spawned more than $ 245 million in revenue. Faced with this triumph, the Americans, specialists in the genre, were eager to produce a remake in the English language. Only on French cinema, films like Visitors, LOL, or Untouchables had their American version. But, strange thing, Welcome to the Ch’tis went through the cracks.
However, an American remake of Dany Boon’s film was well planned. The project, which was to be called Welcome to the Sticks was unfortunately never filmed. The Americans had good ideas. The comedian Will Smith was even supposed to participate in the project. Dany Boon met the international star and decision makers from Warner Bros to validate the project.
But our Frenchie did not want to sell his goose that laid the golden eggs so easily. Dany Boon refused in quick succession three scenario proposals before completely losing interest in the project. The comedian thus retained the exploitation rights of his film, and Americans never managed to produce their remake of Welcome to the Ch’tis. It will therefore be necessary to be satisfied with the Italian remake. Entitled Benvenuti al Sud (Welcome to the South), the film tells the story of a Milanese who leaves northern Italy after being transferred to the south.