10 Highest-Grossing Original Movies, Ranked


France was the birthplace of cinema and it remains one of the industry’s most important countries, with a vibrant local film industry and key global events like the Cannes Film Festival. The general public also still seems passionate about movies: in recent years, French citizens have returned to cinemas in higher numbers than those of other European countries, even if admissions haven’t yet rebounded to pre-pandemic levels.

As a result of this local enthusiasm for le cinéma, there have been a number of French films that have performed exceptionally well in their home country, raking in big bucks at the box office (even if many of them remain relatively unknown outside France’s borders). Not all of these French blockbusters are fantastic, and some may be a little too specific to their homeland, but there are still a fair number of gems to be found among them. They make for some entertaining international viewing.

10 ‘Taxi 2’ (2000)

Box Office Gross: $60 Million

Taxi 2 is the second in the popular action series written and produced by Luc Besson. It continues the death-defying adventures of Marseille taxi driver Daniel Morales (Samy Naceri). This time, Daniel must team up with his cop friend Émilien (Frédéric Diefenthal) to protect the Japanese minister of defense from Yakuza assassins. Naturally.

A masterpiece, this is not, but it’s packed to the gills with high-octane action sequences. Director Gérard Krawczyk ups the ante from the first movie, culminating in a scene where a suped-up taxi is parachuted over Paris. A lot of the jokes have aged quite poorly, however. The plot also serves more as a way of connecting the moments of vehicular mayhem than as an actual story. It’s all rather ridiculous but, for a certain kind of action-comedy fan, it should hit the spot. It certainly connected with audiences in its home country, selling 10 million tickets in its opening weekend.

Taxi 2



Run Time
88 Minutes

Gérard Krawczyk

Release Date
March 29, 2000

Taxi 2 can be purchased on DVD from Amazon in the U.S.

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9 ‘Le Dîner de Cons’ (1998)

Box Office Gross: $65.4 Million

Le Dîner de Cons (roughly translated to Dinner of Fools) is a comedy centering on Pierre Brochant (Thierry Lhermitte), a successful publisher who hosts a weekly dinner where each guest brings the most ‘idiotic’ person they can find. Brochant’s latest find is the well-meaning but bumbling François Pignon (Jacques Villeret). As the night unfolds, Brochant’s life spirals out of control as Pignon inadvertently exposes his secrets and forces him to confront his own shortcomings.

The Dinner Game is a finely crafted comedy set in a confined space, maintaining a brisk pace over its 80-minute runtime. It confidently mixes absurdity and social commentary, mercilessly poking fun at its characters. Director Francis Veber, who wrote the original play, evidently delighted in taking his story to the screen. Plus, Villeret and Lhermitte deliver stellar performances as the mismatched pair navigating a comedic descent into despair. They depict their characters as ridiculous, but not caricatures. They both won César Awards for their efforts.

The Dinner Game


Gaumont Buena Vista International

Run Time
80 Minutes

Francis Veber

Release Date
April 15, 1998

The Dinner Game can be streamed on Kanopy in the U.S.

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8 ‘French Fried Vacation 3: Friends Forever’ (2006)

Box Office Gross: $84 Million

French Fried Vacation 3: Friends Forever is the third installment that began with the 1978 cult classic that satirized life resorts like Club Med. This one picks up where the last movie left off three decades ago, with the main characters now in their 50s. As the gang of friends, including Popeye (Thierry Lhermitte), Jean-Claude (Michel Blanc), and Gigi (Marie-Anne Chazel), embark on their annual vacation in the French countryside, they find themselves facing a series of comedic misadventures and unexpected challenges.

The film performed well at the box office, perhaps capitalizing on decades of nostalgia. However, it was not as well-received critically as its predecessors. Most reviews found it to lack the fun of the originals, but without the dramatic heft to work as a melancholy comment on aging. Fans of the first two who nevertheless intend to check it out should watch the subbed, rather than the dubbed, version, as the vocal delivery and intonation of the actors add to the humor.

French Fried Vacation 3: Friends Forever


TF1 Films Productions

Run Time
97 Miniutes

Patrice Leconte

Release Date
February 1, 2006

French Fried Vacation 3: Friends Forever is not available for streaming or purchase at this time.

7 ‘The Visitors’ (1993)

Box Office Gross: $98.8 Million

The Visitors follow the misadventures of a medieval knight, Godefroy de Montmirail (Jean Reno) and his loyal servant Jacquouille la Fripouille (Christian Clavier) who are accidentally propelled into the present day due to a magical mishap. Desperate to return to their own time, they enlist the help of Béatrice (Valérie Lemercier), a descendant of Godefroy’s fiancée, and her fiancé, Jean-Pierre (Christian Bujeau).

This fish-out-of-water movie with time travelers struggling to adapt to modern technology is filled with many of the tropes one would expect, alongside slapstick humor that can get a little grating. Some moments might elicit chuckles, while others will provoke groans and eye rolls. Still, the leads are charming, and a few of the gags are quite witty. The movie was a massive hit, spending a total of seventeen weeks at number one in France and out-grossing even Jurassic Park in the country that year. In fact, it was the highest-grossing non-English language film worldwide in 1993.

The Visitors


Gaumont Buena Vista International

Run Time
107 Minutes

Jean-Marie Poiré

Release Date
January 27, 1993

The Visitors can be streamed on Kanopy in the U.S.

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6 ‘Asterix and Obelix vs. Caesar’ (1999)

Box Office Gross: $101.6 Million

Based on the beloved comic book series begun by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, this movie tells the story of the indomitable Gaulish warrior Asterix (Christian Clavier), and his robust companion Obelix (Gérard Depardieu) in ancient Gaul. They set out to thwart Caesar (Gottfried John), who plans to eliminate the village’s source of strength, a magical potion brewed by the village druid.

The original comics are legendary, so any film adaptation had Obelix-sized shoes to fill, but Asterix and Obelix vs. Caesar does a decent job. It doesn’t quite live up to the source material (the script is especially lukewarm) but it compensates with terrific physical comedy, some entertaining action scenes, and actors who do an admirable job of capturing the essence of their iconic characters. With a budget of almost $50 million, it was the most expensive French film ever made at the time. The bet paid off: Asterix and Obelix vs. Caesar opened incredibly strongly with 446,724 admissions on its first day, out of a population of 58 million people.

Asterix and Obelix vs Ceasar can be streamed on Prime Video in the U.S.

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5 ‘Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra’ (2002)

Box Office Gross: $131 Million

Mission Cleopatra, the sequel to Asterix and Obelix vs. Caesar, sees the heroes heading to ancient Egypt. When Julius Caesar (Alain Chabat) challenges Cleopatra (Monica Bellucci) to build a magnificent palace in just three months, the Egyptian queen turns to the Gaulish druid Getafix (Claude Rich) for help. Determined to prove the superiority of Egyptian architecture, Cleopatra tasks Asterix (Christian Clavier) and Obelix (Gérard Depardieu) with overseeing the construction.

Once again, this adaptation falls short of capturing the wit of the comics, but there’s still a lot to enjoy here. The costumes and sets are grand and elaborate (the film was even more expensive to make than its predecessor), the stars turn in energetic performances, and the whole thing exudes a sense of joy. One gets the sense that the cast and crew were having a lot of fun on set. The film also received more positive reviews than the first one and performed strongly in multiple countries.

Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra can be streamed on Prime Video in the U.S.

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4 ‘Amélie’ (2001)

Box Office Gross: $174 Million

“Amélie has a strange feeling of absolute harmony.” Audrey Tautou stars in this romantic-comedy gem as a young woman who grows up isolated from the world around her, finding solace in small pleasures and her rich imagination. When she discovers a hidden box in her apartment, Amélie decides to return it to its rightful owner, setting out on a whimsical odyssey.

Amélie is a true gem and visual feast, with director Jean-Pierre Jeunet showing off his mastery of quirky visuals and inventive storytelling. It comes across like a labor of love, with care and attention to detail in every frame. The result is just as intricate as his earlier films Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children, but far more enjoyable. Tautou turns in perhaps her defining performance, all wide-eyed and open-hearted. She’s a pure treat to watch from beginning to end, so the film’s runaway box office success, both in France and across the globe, came as no surprise.


Release Date
August 16, 2001

Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Audrey Tautou , Mathieu Kassovitz

123 Minutes

Main Genre
Romantic Comedy

Amélie can be streamed on Amazon in the U.S.

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3 ‘Serial Bad Weddings’ (2014)

Box Office Gross: $176 Million

This comedy revolves around Claude (Christian Clavier) and Marie Verneuil (Chantal Lauby), a conservative Catholic couple from Brittany, whose lives are turned upside down when their four daughters decide to marry men from different cultural and religious backgrounds. Each wedding becomes a comedic clash of cultures as the Verneuil family navigates their way through the traditions and customs of their new in-laws, including a Jewish, Muslim, Chinese, and African family.

Visually, Serial Bad Weddings is stunning, with a stream of gorgeous shots of food and beautiful interiors. Narratively, it stumbles somewhat. The story has good intentions around tolerance and acceptance, but it can get preachy in delivering them. Some of the jokes also come across as insensitive, though they are intended to be ironic. There are funny moments, but most of the performances likewise leave something to be desired. This didn’t stop the movie from raking in big returns, however; it clearly resonated with many cinema-goers.

Serial Bad Weddings can be purchased on DVD from Amazon in the U.S.

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2 ‘Welcome to the Sticks’ (2008)

Box Office Gross: $245 Million

Post office manager Philippe Abrams (Kad Merad) is transferred from the south of France to a small town in the far north as punishment for his dishonesty. Expecting to encounter a dull and dreary place, he is pleasantly surprised to discover a warm and welcoming community filled with quirky characters. All sorts of wacky hijinks soon ensue, with Philippe being transformed in the process.

This is very much a tale of culture clash and language barriers. It’s about how the rest of France misunderstands the dialect and customs of the northern coast, specifically the Nord-Pas de Calais region. Writer-director-star Danny Boon ably mines this material for humor; there are several hilarious scenes of characters misinterpreting each other to disastrous effect. There’s also heart beneath the jokes, however, and Welcome to the Sticks is very much a feel-good film. Italian and Dutch remakes followed, with there even being talk of an English version at some point.

Welcome to the Sticks can be streamed on Kanopy in the U.S.

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1 ‘The Intouchables’ (2011)

Box Office Gross: $426 Million

Image via Gaumont

The Intouchables tells the remarkable true story of the unlikely friendship between Philippe (François Cluzet), a wealthy quadriplegic aristocrat, and Driss (Omar Sy), a charismatic and unconventional caregiver from the Parisian suburbs. What begins as a professional arrangement soon turns into a transformative bond, leaving both men changed for the better.

Directors Éric Toledano and Olivier Nakache use the pairing of two individuals with vastly different backgrounds to produce both comedic and dramatic moments. The film alternates between hilarious and poignant, but with a defiantly optimistic core. Where other movies might have taken a sadder turn with such material, The Intouchables stays light and upbeat (this is reflected in the dynamic soundtrack, featuring the likes of Vivaldi, Nina Simone, and Earth, Wind & Fire). This, more than anything, explains its phenomenal success. The film is life-affirming and energizing, celebrating connections and new beginnings. It was globally acclaimed, nabbing Syr the Best Actor César Award and quickly inspiring Spanish and English remakes, with a Hindi one in development.

The Intouchables

Olivier Nakache , Eric Toledano

François Cluzet , Omar Sy , Anne Le Ny , Audrey Fleurot , Clotilde Mollet , Alba Gaïa Kraghede Bellugi


The Intouchables can be streamed on Kanopy in the U.S.

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