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Woody Allen is enjoying a box office renaissance.
The filmmaker’s Midnight in Paris, starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams, is doing so well that Sony Pictures Classics is moving the film into a total of 944 theaters this weekend—the widest play ever for an Allen pic after Anything Else in 2003.
And that isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison, since Anything Else opened in 1,033 locations to begin with, and died off quickly, cuming $3.2 million domestically.
Midnight in Paris, which made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, opened in only six theaters on May 20 to score one of the best location averages of all time ($99,834) at the domestic box office. The following weekend, the film expanded into 58 theaters, and then into 147 locations last weekend.
Midnight in Paris has done stellar business all along the way, cuming $7.4 million to date and landing on the top 10 chart for the past three weekends, despite its small footprint. Sony Classics’ Tom Bernard and Michael Barker said they didn’t intend to expand nationwide until June 24, but that once they saw how well the film was working with audiences, they changed their plans.
“Not only is this one of Woody Allen’s best films, it has this magical element which lends itself to be the alternative entertainment to the big studio picture. It has tremendous crossover potential,” Barker said.
In Midnight in Paris, Wilson’s character discovers an alternate reality while in Paris with his wife.
Bernard and Barker said there are several reasons why the film is resonating. For one, the movie embraces Paris in a way that appeals to anyone who has either visited the city, or wants to visit. And Wilson plays the sort of “everyman” character that a moviegoers tend to see in more mainstream films, versus in arthouse titles (or an Allen film). It also helps that critics across the country—and not just in New York—have given Midnight in Paris great reviews.
Barker said Midnight in Paris has done great business in more commercial multiplexes. It also has broken a number of house records in arthouse theaters, including the Landmark in Los Angeles.
Allen’s top grossing film in recent years was Vicky Cristina Barcelona, which earned $23.2 million domestically. At its widest point, the film played in 726 theaters. Match Point grossed $23.2 million, and, at its widest, was in 512 theaters.
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