‘The French Dispatch’ Rocks Arthouse With Estimated $1.3M Weekend: “If Wes Builds It, They Will Come” – Specialty Box Office

Beyond traditional media buys, marketing included a cocktail party at popup of the film’s Café Le Sans Blague on Bleecker Street that attracted young crowds with long waits throughout the day Saturday.
By market, highlights included Portland where Cinema 21 which among other venues across the country, demonstrated "a burgeoning and latent demand for specialized releases," Searchlight said. Canada was strong, particularly the Varsity in Toronto and the Park in Vancouver. A full 83% of the audience considered themselves fans of Wes Anderson.
Focus Features' doc Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain was bright spot but that was early last summer pre-full-blown Delta hysteria. In recent weeks, A24's Icelandic genre horror film Lamb and Greenwich Entertainment's The Rescue have clicked with specialty audiences but it was hard to say if those were also on-offs or signaled a nascent recovery.
The Angelika was also the highest grossing theatre in North America for Dispatch this weekend, approaching $100K for its 3-day estimate, followed by The Grove in Los Angeles, the BAM in Brooklyn, which is the 4th highest grossing theatre this weekend, the Alamo Brooklyn, the AMC Lincoln Square in New York and the Landmark West L.A.
It’s off only 34% from last weekend and at its the top 50 locations is holding steady, including a 20% uptick at the Angelika in NYC.) The Rescue, also week three, anticipates a weekend gross of $136,350 at 303 locations. (Lamb, in its third weekend in 435 locations, grossed an estimated $156,905 with a cume to date over $2.5M.
premieres at Telluride and The New York Film Festival,  as well as the London Film Festival. Anderson and the French cast and crew will attend a premiere in Paris tonight – and all in all the film will screen in over 25 festivals. The French Dispatch premiered at Cannes with U.S.
And the timing may be fortuitous, Rodriquez told Deadline. Worries crept in that the film –full title The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun, vignettes of stories from the French outpost of a New Yorker-ish magazine — was maybe be too precious to have wide enough appeal. This is the honest truth, you are having people [coming out] who have not been inside a theater for 18 months." "The variant thing is fading a little and the timing worked out and people just started to come out. But that enthusiasm began to waver as Delta hit and the specialty box office remained persistently low with the core older arthouse demo slow to return. Not so. In fact for much of the year the specialty biz had been eagerly pointing to this film as the one destined to revive a glum arthouse market battered by Covid.
A 180 Strand experiential pop-up event is also taking place in London through mid-November, including an immersive walk through of the world of the film including sets, props, costumes and a working recreation of the Sans Blague café.
Iconic newsstand Casa Magazines is selling copies of 'The French Dispatch magazine.' And department store Bergdorf Goodman’s window has a Dispatch-themed window through Nov. 1 with magazines also available in-store and French Dispatch cocktails at its restaurant and bar. Eyeglass retailer Warby Parker launched an in-store activation Friday at its seven NYC stores offering limited edition Dispatch tote bags with purchase and in-store displays.
Flying Coffee’s tie-in The French Roast was on offer and the coffemaker’s co-branded website and online sales went live Thursday evening.
Over the 3-day weekend, the film is estimated to gross $1.3 million for per screen average of at least $25K, which marks the highest of any film opening during the pandemic — topping even the most successful commercial products over the last 18 months and easily grabbing the specialty crown. Wide releases from The Black Widow to Shang-Chi to Venom to Bond to Dune have cleaned up but a revival had not taken flight at the arthouse yet. It opened in 14 markets and in a total of 52 theatres.
The film expands to over 600 theatres and over 60 markets, adding more theaters weekend of November 5th.
Also opening this weekend: Becoming Cousteau, from Picturehouse looks set for a weekend cume of $110,959 on 319 locations for a per screen average of $348.” />
Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch did what a glum arthouse market was waiting for, revved it up with a smashing three-day average. “If Wes builds it, they will come,” said an elated Searchlight Pictures after a long wait to get the film into theaters.
"These figures show that after a year and a half, arthouse and independent theaters have a superhero of their own in Wes Anderson.” He said a crossover into mainstream theaters has been “doubly encouraging” for the director's tenth picture. Searchlight SVP-General Sales Manager Frank Rodriguez called film “a jolt of electricity" for the specialty box office.

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