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American entertainment big in France despite misconceptions

PARIS -- One of the more common misperceptions in transatlantic relations is the near instinctive knee-jerk comment that the French don't like Americans. That is unless you overlook much of the music on French radio which is American, a considerable segment of prime time TV is American programs and a majority of the box office movie hits are produced in Hollywood ranging from “Batman” to “Lorax.”

Many French have long decried the Americanization of France and ever potent challenge the English language poses to the language of Moliere. Franglais, the mix of English words with French, has been a bane of the self-appointed literary guardians for generations, but when it comes to pure entertainment, Hollywood holds its ground.

Stroll past any of the cinemas on the Champs-Elysses, Montparnase, or any of the grand boulevards and it becomes stunningly obvious that “The Dark Night Rises” over the City of Light. Take a look at the train station platforms and see advertisements for the new Schwarzenegger/Stallone thriller “The Expendables.”

For example, during the last week of July, of the top ten box office hits across France, fully six of them were American movies. “The Dark Knight Rises” surged ahead of the list followed by “Ice Age 4,” “The Amazing Spider Man,” and “Lorax.” A few French- produced comedies followed, and then there's “Madagascar 3” and “Trespass.”

Opening this week are “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” “Lady Vegas” (Lay the Favorite), and “Step Up 4” (Sexy Dance: Miami Heat).

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