Next Friday, after a year and a half wait, Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” will open only in 50 theaters.
This is not good news.
Searchlight Pictures, formerly Fox, now Disney, did the same thing to “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.” That movie is a dead lox at the box office, with just $3 million in the till.
The studio knew there was no audience, and they were right. The only salvageable element of “Tammy Faye” is Jessica Chastain’s Oscar worthy performance.
Now we come to “The French Dispatch.” Audience members have walked out of screenings. Reviewers have actually said they hated it. Hated.
I saw it earlier this week, and Anderson’s beautifully art directed three part omnibus of vignettes lacks coherence. And a plot. And consistent characters. The first installment isn’t bad, but the next two — even with Timothee Chalamet’s hair styled like a souffle — go nowhere fast.
There are no Oscar possibilities for the actors, the best of whom are Adrien Brody and Benicio del Toro. Even though Jeffrey Wright is excellent, his chapter is a trip into a maze.
Releasing into 50 theaters will give “The French Dispatch” a shot at building word of mouth in art houses. But Disney would be better off putting it on streaming, writing it off, and moving on to the next Anderson concoction.
PS Elisabeth Moss, pictured in the poster, is barely in the movie. Maybe she’ll turn up in a longer DVD version. I hope so.