Flanders: A clash of the titans at the box office
by Aurore Engelen
- Two adaptations of TV series (FC de Kampioenen 2 and Ay! Ramon), directed by box-office champs Jan Verheyen and Stijn Coninx, are hitting screens today
Today sees the release of two likely box-office heavyweights for the end of the year in Flemish cinemas. In the blue corner, we have FC de Kampioenen 2: Jubilee General [+see also:
film profile], directed by Jan Verheyen, the sequel to the most successful Flemish film of the last five years, FC de Kampioenen [+see also:
film profile], which drew in over 720,000 viewers in 2013-2014. Nothing has been left to chance. The first instalment capitalised on the popularity of a franchise that was already well known to Flemish audiences, a TV series aired for no fewer than 20 years on the leading Flemish-language channel in Belgium. The public could not resist flocking to cinemas en masse to catch a glimpse of their beloved heroes from this childish comedy on the silver screen. For this sequel to what was already kind of a sequel in itself, the producers (Skyline) pulled out all the stops. First of all, they entrusted the task of directing the title to Jan Verheyen, who is well known for his ability to attract the crowds (with recent film The Verdict [+see also:
film profile], as well as Dossier K [+see also:
film profile], Zot van A and Missing Persons Unit [+see also:
film profile]…). Furthermore, this sequel is cunningly being marketed as a celebration of the series’ 25th anniversary (and therefore also the 25th anniversary of the football team at the heart of the franchise). Lastly, in order to really blow the viewers away, a number of the main characters find themselves whisked away on an adventure in Thailand. Kinepolis is bringing the film out in 34 theatres across Flanders and in Brussels.
And in the red corner, we have Ay! Ramon [+see also:
film profile], the new film by Stijn Coninx, another box-office behemoth, and a champ with a proven track record. Indeed, Coninx, Mr Record Breaker himself, can boast about monopolising the second, third and fourth places in the list of the biggest Belgian box-office successes of all time, with Koko Flanel (1990), Hector (1987) and Daens (1993), respectively. Meanwhile, his last opus, Marina [+see also:
interview: Cristiano Bortone
film profile] (which came in in 13th place), was hot on the heels of the aforementioned FC de Kampioenen 1, drawing in more than 500,000 viewers. With Ay! Ramon, Coninx is also trying his hand at adapting a successful TV series (Dag Sinterklaas) that takes the form of a family comedy. The movie was produced by Sylvester Productions, and is being distributed in 32 cinemas in Brussels and Flanders by Paradiso.
Stay tuned over the next few weeks to find out who will emerge victorious – whether it be through a knockout or on points.