However you want to measure it, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris (review) is a significant hit.
If Rotten Tomatoes is the measurement you prefer, Midnight in Paris has a 92% fresh.
Critical acclaim is also translating into box office success. With nearly $29 million domestic in 38 days, the film (which cost $30 million) has a real shot at toppling Hannah and Her Sisters‘ $40 million to become the highest grossing Woody Allen film ever.
As it peaked last week (June 17 – 23) at 1038 locations, the film showed its first week over week decline, but only of 11%. It shed a few screens this weekend and the weekly box office decline will probably be a bit steeper going forward, but it’s still got enough momentum to land it at the top of the Woody Allen pile before long. Notably it only dropped an estimated 8.3% this weekend from last.
Internationally where the last few Allen hits have outperformed their domestic totals (Match Point raked in $62 million in foreign coin while Vicky Cristina Barcelona netted $73 million), Midnight in Paris is off to a very good start with $23 million reported from only 4 countries. Spain and France where Allen films have traditionally done well account for nearly $22 million. Compare that to Match Point and Vicky Cristina Barcelona which earned $19 million and nearly $25 million respectively in those countries. Allen hotspots Italy, the UK and Germany have yet to ring in, but there’s no reason to think they won’t add to the foreign totals significantly.
What difference does it make? Not much really. The critically drubbed Cars 2 found more change in its couch this weekend than Midnight in Paris will make in its lifetime, but I wanted to make one last case for the film for those of you who are holding out on it for some reason.Believe critics or believe audiences or believe me: Midnight in Paris is a winner.
Why has it been so successful? For one thing, it’s damn likable and people are telling their friends. It probably plays better to an older audience that is generally under-served in the summer months, but I have yet to run into anyone who wasn’t at least OK with it. It’s a surprisingly optimistic film for Allen and probably just what people are needing right now during these dark times. At the same time, it’s light but not lightweight. If you stop and think about it for a minute, it resonates more than some are willing to give it credit for. It has a lot to say about the power and the drawbacks of nostalgia. It manages to celebrate the past and wallow in it, while ultimately finding the greatest peace in the here and now.
The degree to which people respond to it seems to depend in part on how they feel about Owen Wilson in general and the somewhat goofy character he plays specifically. People who don’t like the actor with his nasally voice and crooked nose are going to have an uphill climb with it. Me? I generally find him appealing and I think his performance in Midnight in Paris ranks alongside Bottle Rocket and The Darjeeling Limited as his best. It’s too light of a performance to get any kind of Oscar traction at the end of the year, but it’s certainly deserving.
That’s all from me this week. Now it’s your turn. Have you seen Midnight in Paris yet? Did you see the latest Pixar? Tell us what you’ve been watching whether it’s good, bad or ugly.
Filed under: The Watercooler