Get ready to fluff your most festive cravat, because Grand Budapest Hotel this week became Wes Anderson’s first movie to cross $100 million internationally, becoming his highest-grossing film to date (in terms of worldwide gross). Somewhere, there’s a tiny madras sportcoat covered in confetti and celebratory cosmo stains.
In terms of domestic box office, Budapest is actually a distant third behind Moonrise Kingdom and Royal Tenenbaums, but has earned 62 percent of its gross overseas. Only Darjeeling has a higher percentage from foreign box, at 66 percent.
It’s odd that even after seven relatively popular movies, Wes Anderson has never had a movie open in more than 2500 theaters. His widest, Fantastic Mr. Fox, opened in 2300 theaters, and the next closest is Grand Budapest, with 1467. By comparison, even Draft Day opened in 2,781. I assume the common knock on Wes Anderson would be that he doesn’t play in the sticks, but from the looks of it, that theory has never been tested. Maybe just once, try opening one in more theaters than f*cking Jobs.
In any case, I think the reason Wes Anderson movies are starting to make big money is the same reason I didn’t entirely love his last two: he’s become predictable enough that he’s a brand. People know what they’re going to get when they see a Wes Anderson movie nowadays, which is exactly the reason it feels to me that his movies are missing some of the magic. I went into Grand Budapest expecting an exquisitely furnished ornate cuckoo clock of a movie and that’s exactly what I got. As exciting as it is to do the unexpected, it’s not normally a good money-making strategy, as The Life Aquatic’s gross and my criminal record seem to prove.