I tell people that Woody used to be so famous he has a comic strip but few believe me.
Now Woody’s film is all over the place. Midnight in Paris commercials are all over tv. I remember the novelty of seeing Small Time Crooks commercials when Dreamworks but Woody Allen films wide but those did not set the box office aflame the way Paris might (estimates this weekend, its first wide weekend, are around 14milion). His next one features Baldwin, Eisenberg, Page, Cruz, Allen himself and Benigni, so maybe he will be on a roll. All that being said I wonder if the marketing not using Allen’s names in the Midnight ads is helping it succeed. WIlson and McAdams have their share of box office failures tho so maybe it is just good word of mouth. Indiewire has an article about it here:
From the moment it hit theaters, it was clear “Midnight in Paris” would not be your average Woody Allen box office performer. When numbers for its first night of release came in, box office analysts were taken aback: From four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, “Paris” grossed $170,953, averaging a massive $28,492. That was more than his 2010 film “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” averaged in its entire first weekend.
The following night, “Paris” increased its grosses by 25%, topping $212,876. And in an extremely rare turn of events, it increased again on Sunday, bringing its weekend total to a downright stunning $599,003. That amounted to a $99,834 per-theater-average, the 13th best ever recorded, and the 5th best for a non-Disney title (Disney often released its 1990s-era animated films in massive venues with high ticket prices, which is why they make up the top 8 per-theater-averages of all-time).
Beyond those records, it was always the best debut ever for distributor Sony Pictures Classics (surpassing Pedro Almodovar’s “Broken Embraces”) and the best ever for Woody himself (besting 2005’s “Melinda and Melinda”).
Now, lots of films do very well in their first weekends within the safe haven for specialty film that is New York and Los Angeles, and then begin to disappoint the moment they start expanding (see: “Melinda and Melinda”). But in the three weeks since “Midnight in Paris” debuted, it’s clear it’s not one of those films.
After two weekends of steady expansion, the film has grossed $7,755,165 (as of June 8), so far reaching a maximum of 147 theaters. As a result, Sony Pictures Classics will take “Paris” where few Woody Allen films have gone before: Everywhere.
Today, “Midnight in Paris” will reach 944 screens across North America. That’s the second widest release ever for an Allen film (“Anything Else” hit 1,033 in its debut weekend, though “Paris” has already doubled that film’s final gross).
All of this begs the question: What is it about “Paris” that has made it a success story? How come it seems to be heading for a gross north of $30 million, the highest grossing Allen film since 1986’s “Hannah and Her Sisters?”
Essentially, there seems like there’s been a perfect storm of reasons.
For one, opening within a week of its Cannes debut was a very smart move by Sony Pictures Classics. The many among us not so privileged to be on the Croisette usually have to wait until the fall to see what Cannes had to offer, but “Paris” opened before the festival was even over.
It also benefited from the slew of international press covering the film in Cannes, which was essentially a mass amount of free publicity (a similar strategy seems to have also helped “The Tree of Life”).
“We set this date the minute we thought it might open Cannes,” Sony Classics’ Michael Barker told indieWIRE Thursday. “We thought it would be overwhelmingly good for the film.”
One thing that Sony Classics didn’t plan was go wide June 10. The initial plan was to go nationwide June 24, but by the second weekend, Barker and company knew they had to change their tune.
“On that second weekend, we took many, many mainstream theaters that don’t normally play specialized films,” he said. “And the numbers were as high there than they were anywhere else. That told us we could move the date up. Because we felt it was a perfect moment.”
It’s difficult to overemphasize just how strong some of the “Paris” numbers have been. As Anne Thompson notes over at Thompson on Hollywood, the film has broken weekly house records at an eclectic mix of theaters ranging from The Landmark in Los Angeles to the Bethesda Row in Bethesda, Maryland.
Thompson also notes another big reason why the film is hitting such a high note with audiences: “It’s escapist, magical summer fun, with a happy romantic ending.”
Counterprogramming against summer tentpoles with an indie that has considerable mainstream appeal (in both its narrative, its stars Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams and its Paris setting) has clearly been a huge factor in “Paris”‘s success. Michael Barker noted Sony Classics purposely opened it opposite the fourth “Pirates of the Caribbean” film.
“So many movies were staying away,” he said. “We were the perfect alternative to that. It really is a magical film, and it’s the kind of entertainment that never really goes out of vogue. It helps that it has elements that are mainstream.”
It also helps that reviews have been some of the strongest Allen has seen in the past two decades, with “Paris” joining the likes of “Match Point” and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (both among Allen’s top 5 grossing films) as a rare late-in-his-career critical hit. The Playlist even mused as to whether it could end up being an Oscar contender.
Whatever happens from here on in, Woody Allen, Sony Pictures Classics, and everyone else involved with “Midnight in Paris” have reason to be optimistic. While Barker was not about to predict a final gross for “Paris,’ he did say that he expects it to have a lengthy date with theatrical audiences.
“The thing important to know,” Barker said, “is that part of our strategy to keep it on the screen as long as possible. We feel it’s going to play throughout the summer. We think this is a film that has a very long life in theaters.”
Yeah, it’s good to see it doing well.
30 mill worldwide though, not the U.S?
he never lost his popularity in Europe. in fact, he is probably more popular over there now than he was in the 70’s
I have a sinking feeling it wont be a favorite (have never cared for Annie Hall or Hannah). I tend to love the ones no one else does (plus he is not in it which is always a cause for low expectation.
“. I tend to love the ones no one else does”
that’s across the board though, not just with Allen ;-)
well, I like all the right Larry Clark films
oh wait no one else likes Larry Clark
I’m confident I’ll like Midnight In Paris as imo Allen’s never made a bad film. Sure, some are better than others but there’s no bad ’uns. Looking forward to it.
I have only found two of his films to be bad: Whatever Works and Cassandra’s Dream tho I am rethinking Cassandra since it does not even feel like an Allen film at all to me (which is kind of interesting because all the other ones do)
Dennis, my guess is you’ll like it about as much as you like Purple Rose of Cairo (which I have no idea how much you like.)
And I go unconventional on Larry Clark, thinking Another Day in Paradise is his best film.
Here are my thoughts on Midnight in Paris, posted last week just after viewing:
“How appropriate and unexpected that a late period Woody Allen film dealing with the appeal and pitfalls of nostalgia would be the first to capture the magic of Woody in his prime in 15 if not 20 years. Owen Wilson is at his career best as the Woody surrogate, mixing his own unique persona with his directors. While the love letter to Paris may be derivative of Manhattan and its fantasy conceit derivative of Purple Rose of Cairo, the result is a pure wistful romantic joy that I didn’t think the old man was still capable of.”
My perspective is not from someone who enjoys all stages of Allen’s career, but gravitates toward the comedy/dramas he specialized in from the late seventies through the early 90’s. He’s lost me more recently in his excursions into pure silliness (Hollywood Ending/Small Time Crooks) and his efforts to make more conventional films (Match Point/Vickie Christina Barcelona). Midnight in Paris is vintage Woody. Its Allen being Allen, unapologetically.
I recently saw something saying that Midnight was his biggest film since “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”, as if that film (2008) were decades old.
Woody’s “comeback” makes good press, so they do the story every time he has a well-reviewed film, which seems to be about every three or four years.
FWIW, it (MiP) is one of my favorite Allen films of the past 20 years or so. Cassandra’s Dream I didn’t care for at all; Whatever Works I liked but wouldn’t defend.
I’m seeing Midnight in Paris tonight so I’m pretty anxious. I can only think of two of his films that I didn’t care for. The first is Alice and I really didn’t like it. Maybe because I really don’t like Joe Mantegna. And the other is Scoop. It’s not that I didn’t like, I just thought it was ok. I like much of his work from the past ten years or so, especially Match Point.
I like Larry Clark. Ken Park and his short in Destricted are great.
It scores big with me for mentioning the Jonestown massacre in such blackly hilarious fashion—even “The Mist” got huge laughs out of me for referencing Jonestown, despite the fact the film overall was subpar. Plus that black-and-white cinematography in “Stardust” is divine. I’d love to live just one day with everything around me in that exact type of B and W. Then there’s the whole artificial insemination thing—riotous!
Let’s not forget Sharon Stone’s cameo during the opening sequence—but even she’s shown up by Charlotte Rampling, whose appearance in this film is like the sands of paradise dusted across celluloid.
Also, Sandy Bates (Allen) had rather odd taste in wallpaper—those big photographs and newspaper articles blown up to gigantic size—I shudder to think someone would REALLY have THAT photo from Vietnam as decor!
it seems like every few years critics say Allen is “back.” They said it when “Match Point” came out then when “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” came out and now with “Midnight in Paris.” I’m sure after Allen’s next two or three movies (and given he makes a film a year that isn’t really a long time) they’ll have to pretend like" Midnight in Paris" didn’t come out a couple of years ago just so they can say “Oh Allen is back in form with *insert 2013 Woody Allen project title.”
Been making movies for years. He never went away. I want a spiritual successor to The Purple Rose of Cairo, dag nab it.
“30 mill worldwide though, not the U.S?”
It’s just opening widely here this weekend, so while the total gross is modest, it per screen average is, I believe, the highest of any film released here thus far this year.
Just saw Midnight in Paris yesterday and it was exceptional from start to finish. It was the best Allen film in a while but I don’t think his films in ’00’s were terrible. I liked Match Point and Vicky Cristina Barcelona quite a bit.
Yes, part of the success is due to smart marketing, but a large amount of it is also due to the fact it’s just a really good movie.
In addition to Woody Allen’s trademark observational intelligence, the film also has some plain laugh out loud moments. The Exterminating Angel reference was the most I laughed at a movie in months.
A few things about the film more in depth later.
At first I thought it was going to be a charming but laughless travel brouchure.
The film did not get going until he met Dali and once that hilarious scene happened, the movie became a lot more fun. Alison Pill deserves an oscar nom, Bruni could be an actress, so much grace on screen and the gril who works at the record shop had instant chemistry with Wilson. I am thankful that the infidelity was not too sided (often Allen’s characters cheat at the drop of a hat) and tho McAdams was terrible, the lack of interest in her made Wilson’s romantic blahs easier to accept. I would compare this film most to Anything Else (another film with a somewhat sci fi aspect) in that the film is very personal to the life of Woody Allen and so in both films, the artist is very much in his element.
^^But Anying else sucked ande this didn’t right? ;-)
Aw, don’t get him going on that again :)
I liked this movie. It’s one of my favourite post-2000 Allen movies. It’s cute and I especially like the opening montage where we were allowed to just exist in Paris for a few minutes.
I didn’t like its attempt to push a message on us about the failings of nostalgia. It seems like a fairly obvious point yet the end of the film makes it feel like the whole movie is about this lesson that Gill needs to learn. It is a typical Hollywood way of handling characters: making them learn a lesson over the course of the film and have the audience understand that we are meant to learn this lesson along with the protagonist. Woody’s handling of this message seemed awfully reminiscent of the simplistic way people romanticize bygone eras. His characters in recent movies are less developed and are almost always caricatures. Do we not recognize the usual Woody Allen archetypes in this film? The pretentious pseudo-intellectual, the neurotic, childish, indecisive protagonist looking for meaning in life, the hot (cheating) woman – who would never be with this guy in real life – that just doesn’t understand him, … The ending also projects a very rosy view of the world. spoilers Only in the movies can somebody ditch their wife, walk over to the cafe, and pick up a new hot girlfriend that he’s spoken to like three times – who’s just purrrfect for him, as evidenced by her tolerance of rain. The same goes for the romantic portrayal of the city of Paris. I found this to be a really enjoyable movie but I find it odd that a movie with a moral of dispelling sentimental ideas about life is so full of sentimental ideas about life.
“I found this to be a really enjoyable movie but I find it odd that a movie with a moral of dispelling sentimental ideas about life is so full of sentimental ideas about life.”
I dunno, Michael, the girl he ends up with digs Cole Porter, so I’d say maybe the film is not advocating a lifestyle that eschews sentimentality as much as it is recommending you seek out someone whose sentimentality aligns with your own.
“Aw, don’t get him going on that again :)”
hgahaha. well i must say this is the first Allen film that i’m genuinely looking forward to in a while. not to say i disliked his last 3-4 films—although i thought V.C.Barcelona and Match Point were ridiculously overrated, and the latter didn’t say anything that wasn’t already said better in C+M back in the late 80’s—but they weren’t particularly great either. for some reason i’ve sat through Whatever Works 3-4 times though. not sure what that’s all about!!
Out of the ones Allen has started in over the last decade, Hollywood Ending had the most potential i thought, if it was shorter and made 25-30 years earlier than it was.
I agree it was a very ‘movie moment’ when he met the woman at the end, but I felt it was worth it in order not to have the movie end on a ‘Screw everything’ note. I didn’t feel the intention was sentimental so much as a glorification of the artistic mission. If you have something inside you you want to express, don’t compromise it for convenience or marketability, or to live up to the expectations of others.
I also felt the message about nostalgia was a note of cleverness rather than an attempt to force the agenda of the movie on the viewer.
He’s a mixed back for me. Tall Dark Stranger was just OK for me, I didn’t like Whatever Works at all. Vicky I liked, but I agree it was not a great film, Cassandra’s Dream was just dreadful, Scoop was amusing but paper-thin, Match Point I liked, Melinda and Melinda I liked, after that I have to go all the way back to Sweet and Lowdown.
^^^Whatever Works i liked because it was ‘retro’—kind of— and i liked David in the role, but i wish he made it in the 70’s. Cassandra’s Dream was bad, i agree, and Scoop was lightweight.
Melinda and Melinda’s ‘comedy/tragedy’ angle didn’t work for me. it just felt desperate(for 2004/2005). like he was trying to jazz up a pretty ordinary story.
Whatever Works didn’t work for me because I didn’t like David as an Allen surrogate.
I think your comment about Pill is a bit hyperbolic, but it’s the kind of hyperbole I like, and want to believe in.
That said, she is still just one of the many staggering, utter delights in a utterly delightful film.
The Exterminating Angel moment is played out finely. We get the joke, and then sort of hold our breath waiting to see if and how it’s going to justify itself and complete itself into a real worthwhile gag, and it does—wonderfully—the Bunuel actor’s timing being spot-on.
Did he ever disappear? There was a bit of lull following the nasty end to his marriage with Mia, but it didn’t seem to slow him down. I liked VCB very much. It appeared a return to form after a couple of less than stellar outings. Judging by his range of themes and actors, he seems to have definitely become more European, no longer content to address New York specifically, even if his approach remains pretty much the same. His post-Mia films lack the sharp edge of his earlier films, but I suppose that comes with the softer life he is living these days.