Ziad Doueiri's film The Insult meets with huge success in Lebanon

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The fourth feature by director Ziad Doueiri, which was majority co-produced by France through the production companies Rouge International and Tessalit Productions, has so far attracted 70,000 spectators in Lebanon, the filmmaker's native country.

While French audiences will have to wait a little longer before they can see The Insult, it has already created a sensation in Lebanon. Released by Italia Film on September 14 on 18 prints, it got off to a strong start, registering 33,000 spectators in its opening week. It took 44% of all movie admissions that week, heading straight to the top of the box office.

It remained in the top spot on its third weekend, and is now credited with a total of 70,000 admissions (around €500,000 in ticket sales). As a result, it ranks as the most popular French film in Lebanon since the start of 2017 (and the 6th most popular French film of all time in this market), outscoring previous hits Dalida (24,500 admissions) and Leap (12,000 admissions). It has won acclaim from media and audiences alike at fall season film festivals (Telluride, Toronto, and Venice, where it won Best Actor honors), and will represent Lebanon in the race for the 2018 Oscar nominations in the Best Foreign-Language Film category.

With the film's success boosted by positive worth-of-mouth, its performance does not appear to have been affected by the controversy surrounding the brief arrest (and release) of its director Ziad Doueiri at Beirut airport on his return home from the Venice Film Festival.

Doueiri's past films notably include The Attack, which was officially banned in Lebanon but generated $1.72 million at the US box office in 2013, attracting around 211,500 movie-goers (released by the Cohen Media Group).

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