Wes Andersons The French Dispatch Sets Pandemic-Era Record for Indie Box Office

“The French Dispatch,” director Wes Anderson’s tribute to 20th-century magazines, opened at the domestic box office with a robust $1.3 million from only 52 theaters.

For platform releases like “The French Dispatch,” the key metric is per-theater average rather than overall box office tally because indie movies kick off in a handful of theaters while commercial pictures start in thousands of venues. Notably, “The French Dispatch” averaged $25,000 in ticket sales per location, marking the best per-theater average of any film opening during the pandemic. That distinction was previously held by Sony’s comic book adventure “Venom” (averaging $21,300 per theater) and Disney’s superhero adaptation “Black Widow” (averaging $19,400 per theater).

“‘The French Dispatch’ is a jolt of electricity for the specialty box office, delivering record-breaking results in theaters across the country,” said Searchlight Pictures’ senior VP and general sales manager Frank Rodriguez. “These figures show that after a year and a half, arthouse and independent theaters have a superhero of their own in Wes Anderson. What has been doubly encouraging is the crossover results in mainstream theaters hungry for Wes’ 10th film as well. We are thrilled that after several delays, moviegoers said it was worth the wait.”

Starring Timothee Chalamet, Frances McDormand, Benicio del Toro, Tilda Swinton and Adrien Brody, “The French Dispatch” had the biggest turnout at the Angelika in New York City, with the arthouse theater expected to pull in $100,000 in its first three days. Other theaters in which Wes Anderson loyalists bought tickets in droves include The Grove in Los Angeles, BAM in Brooklyn, Alamo Drafthouse in Brooklyn and AMC Lincoln Square in Manhattan. “The French Dispatch” is expanding more quickly than traditional arthouse fare and will be available in more than 600 theaters in over 60 markets by next weekend with an even bigger footprint planned by early November.

More to come…

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