Sunday, April 21, 2024

Box Office: “The French Dispatch” Expands to 788 Theaters Despite A Week of Steady Decline


Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” has not been an easy release.

Postponed for over a year, the triptych film opened last Friday in just 52 theaters and headed into a steady decline. Every single day since the opening the numbers went down. Yesterday, Thursday, saw a drop of over 81% in 6 days, from $556K to $102k.


Despite this, Searchlight is taking a Hail Mary pass and expanding the all-star experience to 788 theaters this weekend. Will it work? Will audiences flock to a movie that some critics openly hated and preview audiences walked out of?

Here’s the deal if you’re a Wes Anderson fan and are on the fence about “The French Dispatch”: it’s three separate stories. The only through line is that Bill Murray runs a kind of faux-twee French based version of The New Yorker. He’s in the movie a little bit, and Elisabeth Moss even less. I really liked first chapter, with Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, and Tilda Swinton.

But the next two chapters, while amusing and cast with celebrities, become mired in diminishing returns. By the end you’ll need a cappuccino. Which isn’t it say that the production values aren’t as high as possible and completely original. It’s a worthwhile project. But it’s not up to Anderson’s best work. Here’s hoping his next one is more cohesive.

PS Searchlight, which won the last couple of Best Picture Oscars with “Nomadland” and “The Shape of Water,” may not be in the hunt this year. “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” didn’t cut it, and “French Dispatch” will merit art noms only. Their last card is the Guillermo del Toro horror film, “Nightmare Alley,” which everyone is crossing fingers for.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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