- Midnight in Paris box office: Critically acclaimed Woody Allen fantasy opened with the year’s biggest per-theater average to date in the domestic market. Besides, Midnight in Paris may also boast the veteran filmmaker’s best per-theater average ever. In the cast: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, and Marion Cotillard.
Midnight in Paris box office: Starring Owen Wilson, acclaimed Woody Allen fantasy debuts with year’s highest per-theater average – and possibly Allen’s highest ever
May 20–22 weekend box office (cont.): Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris is opened with sensational numbers in limited release.
At no. 13 on the domestic (U.S. and Canada) box office chart, the widely lauded comedy fantasy – 94 percent approval rating, 7.8/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes’ “top critics” – grossed $599,000 from six theaters, averaging an outstanding $99,833 per location according to final studio figures found at boxofficemojo.com.
That’s not only the year’s highest per-theater average to date but possibly the highest debut-weekend average of a Woody Allen movie since time immemorial. (Box Office Mojo’s opening-weekend list goes only as far back as the 1979 classic Manhattan.)
Inflation-adjusted comparison to previous Woody Allen movies
One thing is clear: Even after factoring in inflation, Midnight in Paris boasted a higher per-theater average than any of its post-Manhattan predecessors. Below are a few (with one exception) inflation-adjusted examples (approximate figures among select Woody Allen titles that opened at fewer than 30 locations):
- You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger averaged $26,683 (not adjusted) at six venues in September 2010.
- Mighty Aphrodite, which would earn Mira Sorvino a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, averaged the equivalent of $31,000 at 19 venues in October 1995.
- The Purple Rose of Cairo, another acclaimed Woody Allen comedy fantasy, averaged the equivalent of $84,000 at three venues in March 1985.
- Manhattan, which would earn Allen and Marshall Brickman an Oscar nod in the Best Original Screenplay category, averaged the equivalent of $52,500 at 29 venues in April 1979.
Of course, keep in mind that all things being equal, the fewer the number of theaters the higher the per-theater average should be. That makes Manhattan’s opening weekend particularly impressive.
Midnight in Paris vs. this year’s Oscar favorites
Now, what about Hannah and Her Sisters?
Woody Allen’s most successful title of the last three decades, Hannah and Her Sisters debuted at 54 sites in February 1986. Adjusted average: $50,500.
A couple more comparisons: Tom Hooper’s eventual Best Picture Oscar winner The King’s Speech averaged $88,863 at four venues in November last year, while Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, which would earn Natalie Portman the Best Actress Oscar, averaged $80,211 at 18 venues on its December debut.
No. 16 on all-time list
According to Box Office Mojo, Midnight in Paris has the 16th highest weekend per-theater average (not adjusted for inflation) among movies in limited release since 1982.
Most of the titles on BOM’s Top 15 list are Disney movies presented at pricier special screenings. In fact, there are only four non-Disney, non-animated releases ahead of Midnight in Paris:
- Kevin Smith’s Red State with $204,230 at a single venue in March 2011.
- Bill Condon’s Dreamgirls with $126,316 at three venues in December 2006.
- Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain with $109,485 at five venues in December 2005.
- Lee Daniels’ Precious with $104,025 at 18 venues in November 2009.
A Spanish-U.S. coproduction, Midnight in Paris cost a reported $17 million, as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses, which – considering its star director and name cast – were likely higher than usual for such a modestly budgeted release.
Midnight in Paris movie cast
Midnight in Paris stars Owen Wilson as a Hollywood screenwriter who, while vacationing in the French capital, travels back in time every midnight. Rachel McAdams is his materialistic fiancée while Oscar winner Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose, 2007) plays a 1920s costume designer and fictional lover of Pablo Picasso.
Also in the cast: Oscar winners Kathy Bates (Misery, 1990) and Adrien Brody (The Pianist, 2002) as Gertrude Stein and Salvador Dali, Tom Hiddleston as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alison Pill as Zelda Fitzgerald, Corey Stoll as Ernest Hemingway, David Lowe as T.S. Eliot, Adrien de Van as Luis Buñuel, and Thérèse Bourou-Rubinsztein as Alice B. Toklas.
A few more: Yves Heck as Cole Porter, Sonia Rolland as Josephine Baker, Daniel Lundh as Juan Belmonte, Marcial Di Fonzo Bo Pablo Picasso, Emmanuelle Uzan as Djuna Barnes, Tom Cordier as Man Ray, Yves-Antoine Spoto as Henri Matisse, Laurent Claret as Leo Stein, Vincent Menjou Cortes as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Olivier Rabourdin as Paul Gauguin, and François Rostain as Edgar Degas.
Plus Michael Sheen, Léa Seydoux, Mimi Kennedy, Gad Elmaleh, Nina Arianda, Kurt Fuller, and Carla Bruni (the wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy).
Best Director Oscar winner Woody Allen (Annie Hall, 1977) also penned the Midnight in Paris screenplay. For the record, Allen won two Best Original Screenplay Oscars (Annie Hall, shared with Marshall Brickman; Hannah and Her Sisters, 1986).
One particular Woody Allen record undoubtedly broken
June 20 update: This past weekend (June 17–19), Midnight in Paris officially became Woody Allen’s widest domestic release ever after expanding to 1,038 locations – thus surpassing the previous Allen record-holder, Anything Else, which was shown at 1,033 venues back in 2003.
Anything Else ended its run with a dismal $3.2 million domestically, but Midnight in Paris will suffer no such ignominious fate. To date, the comedy fantasy has scored an estimated $21.8 million ($5.2 million this past weekend) in the U.S. and Canada.
Even taking inflation into account, Midnight in Paris is now behind only three Woody Allen movies released in the 21st century: Vicky Cristina Barcelona ($23.2 million in 2008), Match Point ($23.2 million in 2005), and Small Time Crooks ($17.7 million in 2000; around $25.7 million today).
By next weekend, Midnight in Paris will likely be ahead of all three, thus becoming Allen’s biggest domestic box office hit since Hannah and Her Sisters. That Best Picture Oscar nominee starring Allen, Mia Farrow, Barbara Hershey, Max von Sydow, and eventual Oscar winners Michael Caine and Dianne Wiest earned $40.1 million (around $85 million today).
Overseas, Midnight in Paris has so far grossed more than $18 million in France (where it opened at no. 2 in mid-May) and Spain alone.
Hugely profitable global hit
Update: Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris – which would earn the writer-director his fourth Oscar (in the Best Original Screenplay category) – ultimately collected $56.8 million in the U.S. and Canada, thus becoming one of the filmmaker’s biggest domestic hits, and $94.9 million internationally. Worldwide total: $151.7 million.
Even if its marketing costs were (far?) higher than usual for a $17 million production, that global cume is evidence that Allen’s comedy fantasy was hugely profitable.
Midnight in Paris’ top international markets were France (where the movie is set, with $14.5 million), Italy ($11 million), Spain (where the movie’s production companies are headquartered, with $11 million), Brazil ($7.9 million), Australia ($7.3 million), Germany ($6.9 million), the United Kingdom/Ireland ($4.4 million), Poland ($4.2 million), and Argentina ($3.7 million).
Note: Box Office Mojo’s Russia/CIS figures are incomplete.
“Midnight in Paris Box Office: Best Woody Allen Average” notes
Unless otherwise noted, “Midnight in Paris Box Office: Best Woody Allen Average” box office information via Box Office Mojo. Budget info – which should be taken with a grain of salt – via BOM and/or other sources (e.g., the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Deadline.com, etc.).
Comments about Midnight in Paris and other titles being hits/profitable or flops/money-losers at the box office (see paragraph below) are based on the available data about their production budget, additional marketing and distribution expenses (as a general rule of thumb, around 50 percent of the production cost), and worldwide gross (as a general rule of thumb when it comes to the Hollywood studios, around 50–55 percent of the domestic gross and 40 percent of the international gross goes to the distributing/producing companies).
Bear in mind that data regarding rebates, domestic/international sales/pre-sales, and other credits and/or contractual details that help to alleviate/split production costs and apportion revenues are oftentimes unavailable, and that reported international grosses may be incomplete (i.e., not every territory is fully – or even partially – accounted for).
Also bear in mind that ancillary revenues (domestic/global television rights, home video sales, streaming, merchandising, etc.) can represent anywhere between 40–70 percent of a movie’s total take. However, these revenues and their apportionment are only infrequently made public.
Lastly, although a more accurate reflection of a film’s popularity (i.e., its number of tickets sold), inflation-adjusted estimates should be taken with extreme caution. For instance, they’re based on average domestic ticket prices (via the National Association of Theater Owners, unless otherwise noted) whereas numerous major releases scored a large chunk of their box office take at top-priced venues.
Rachel McAdams, Owen Wilson, Marion Cotillard, and Woody Allen Midnight in Paris movie images: Roger Arpajou | Sony Pictures Classics.
“Midnight in Paris Box Office: Best Woody Allen Average” last updated in February 2023.