“CODA”, a success story inspired by “La Famille Bélier”

Dedicated to Sunday’s Oscars, CODA has everything a Hollywood success story could ask for. This limited-budget film, whose launch has been hampered by the health crisis, is now enjoying global success after being sold to Apple for a record-breaking sum.

The film already deals with an unusual topic. CODA (abbreviation of Child of Deaf Adult) is the remake of Eric Lartigau’s La Famille Bélier. It shows a high school student who is caught between two fires: on the one hand her passion for music and on the other hand her family, which depends on her communication. The film makes extensive use of sign language, and the American adaptation features deaf actors.

At that time nobody expected such a success for “La Famille Bélier” and even less for “CODA”. The French film garnered almost 7.5 million viewers and is the second best-selling release of 2014 according to Comscore.

Even before the big screen success, the idea of ​​a remake of “Aries” was sold on Lionsgate for almost $500,000. “It was a good number at the time, but we didn’t expect it to be this crazy,” says Eric Jehelmann of Jerico Films, one of the producers of La Famille Bélier.

After all, the film will not be shot with Lionsgate, but with a former company executive. More specifically, the producers are Philippe Rousselet, Fabrice Gianfermi (Vendôme Production) – who previously worked on La Famille Bélier -, Patrick Wachsberger (ex-Lionsgate) and Jérôme Seydoux on Pathé.

$15 million budget

Pathé (which owns the Vendôme and Jerico catalogs) provided most of the funding and is responsible for international distribution. “CODA” cost $15 million, half of Jane Campion’s Oscar-nominated “The Power of the Dog”… and about 10 times less than “Dune” (nominated in six technical categories).

In his epic, “CODA” will have succeeded in overcoming the pandemic. The film sat on shelves for several months while theaters in the United States were closed.

Finally, the film was spotted by Apple at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2021 and sold for $25 million, “unheard of at Sundance,” according to Pathé. Independent distributors and Netflix were there, but Apple’s platform has lasted twenty years in most territories (except Latin America, Japan, Italy, etc.). “There will be some revenue increases for the producers of ‘La Famille Bélier’ and the beneficiaries, but they will be small. Vendôme and Pathé are behind “CODA”, continues Eric Jehelmann.

A sequel to Broadway

“I don’t think it’s a miracle. The film deserves to be where it is at this time in which we live. It’s an important film, a film that does good, that touches people and brings them together with its human values,” Philippe Rousselet told AFP shortly before his victory.

And like a true Hollywood happy ending, there’s a sequel to CODA: Vendôme and Pathé are working on a Broadway adaptation, starring a theatrical troupe of deaf musicians.

The overwhelming success of the remake should also reignite interest in The Bélier Family. France 2 and M6, which helped fund it, share the unencrypted broadcasts: the next – the fifth – will be broadcast on M6.

Leave a Comment