And it did it in a record-shattering way this past weekend! Yeah, I realize that Wes Anderson’s latest work didn’t out-gross “300: Rise of an Empire” over that time period. In fact, with a 45 million plus take, the “300” sequel dwarfed the roughly 811,000 dollar total of “TGBH”. Here’s the rub though—“Rise of an Empire” debuted in North America on almost 3500 screens. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” theater count…4. FOUR! So, that translates into a 202,ooo per-screen average for Wes’ quirky comedy. “Rise of the Empire”‘s breakdown? A relatively paltry 13,000 dollars, or so, per venue. And why is this important? Because it proves that there is an audience out there for quality, and that there are folks that are dying to see the good stuff. I mean, the previous per-screen record holder for an opening was Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” in 2012. That averaged 147,oo0 dollars on 5 screens. So, the excellent result of all this, is that “The Grand Budapest Hotel” will expand to a number of suburban multiplexes this coming Friday—including, at least one, near me!
Now, I’m no fool. And even though, I personally have been salivating at the prospect of this release for a number of months, I don’t kid myself that an army of suburbanites will turn “The Grand Budapest Hotel” into a blockbuster. But who needs it to be that big of a hit. In 2012, on a practically miniscule budget of 16 million dollars, strong reviews and word-of-mouth turned Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” into an international hit, grossing over 68 million dollars worldwide(45 of it, right here in N.A.). “Kingdom” eventually garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. It proved a charmer on DVD as well, and lately seems to be on one of my many Premium Cable channels every single day. “Moonrise Kingdom” was my very favorite film of that year(along with the aforementioned “The Master”—my first official tie for the top spot), and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” appears poised to keep that win streak going!
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” has a cast that includes international star Ralph Fiennes, and boasts a trio of Oscar-winning actors in F. Murray Abraham, Adrien Brody and Tilda Swinton. Of course, Brody and Swinton have been part of the Anderson ensemble before, and you can also expect a roster of Wes regulars(and semi-regulars)like Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson and Bob Balaban. The large cast of recognizable names also includes Saoirse Ronan, Tom Wilkinson, Willem Dafoe, Mathieu Amalric, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law and Lea Seydoux. Expect my review sometime next week. And while we’re at it…why don’t you head out yourself and inhale this breathe of fresh air. I bet you won’t be disappointed. Plus, we can compare detailed notes in just a few days time!