Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” made quite a splash yesterday.
The trailer already has 1 million views on YouTube. The movie, starring Anderson’s regulars like Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Adrien Brody, Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton, also has a raft of new stars like Timothee Chalamet and Saoirse Ronan. Most of them worked for scale as the Fox Searchlight feature is said to have had a meager budget of just $25 million. (If all those people had been paid properly, the lowest bottom line would have been $60 million easily.)
“The French Dispatch” will release on July 24th. But first it will play at the Cannes Film Festival, which opens on May 12th. Since it was filmed in the southwest French town of Angouleme, this makes sense. Also, July 24th is too soon for the late summer-fall festivals like Venice or Telluride. So Cannes is Disney-Searchlight’s only option for a splashy debut. The only question now is how many of “The French Dispatch” stars will Disney fly over and what kind of premiere will they put on.
Luckily, Cannes is hot again. The festival director, Thierry Fremaux, looks like a genius now (he always was) for insisting on having Bong Joon-Ho’s “Parasite” in last year year’s competition. “Parasite” won the Palme D’Or, and has now won the Academy Award for Best Picture and for Best International Film. Suddenly everyone wants to be in the Festival de Cannes again! Fremaux can use “The French Dispatch” as an opener, or keep it until the third night, which is usually the Centerpiece, or even better– hold it til the second week and make everyone wait!
PS Good news for Searchlight, formerly Fox Searchlight’s Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula. They have “French Dispatch” later. Sooner they’ll release Armando Iannucci’s wonderful, hilarious “Personal History of David Copperfield” next month.