EXCLUSIVE: We mentioned in our report on Amazon Studios’ CinemaCon lunch that Lionsgate is releasing the online retailer studio’s Woody Allen film Cafe Society in August. But now Deadline has learned is that the all-star film — which will open the Cannes Film Festival next month — is going wide on August 12, making it the filmmaker’s first wide release since 2003’s Anything Else. That’s big news for an Allen title, which typically get platformed.
As is the standard, Allen films typically debut in his hometown of New York City and Los Angeles during their first frame. Sometimes they even open in a few hundred theaters. I remember during my junior distribution days at Savoy Pictures in the ’90s calling around for hourlies on Friday opening films and Allen’s title at the time, Mighty Aphrodite, was putting up hourly grosses at Sony/Loews Lincoln Center on par with a tentpole like Warner Bros.’ Batman Forever. That’s how big he can do in NYC.
Now before you box office geeks weigh in with comments, yes, MGM/Weinstein Co. released Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona in 692 venues in August 2008 for a $3.8M weekend and a $23.2M final domestic. And prior to that in July 2006, Focus Features debuted Scoop at 538 sites for a $3M opening and final $10.5M. However, 1,000 theaters has been considered for quite some time as the breaking point for a wide release. Distributed by DreamWorks, Anything Else tanked back in 2003 with a final stateside gross of $3.2M; it was also Allen’s widest opener ever, drawing $1.67M at 1,033 theaters in its first weekend.
During the Amazon Studios lunch, the company’s distribution and marketing wiz, Bob Berney, played a clip from Cafe Society of Anna Camp and Jesse Eisenberg wildly bantering at each other, Allen-style. Like he did in To Rome With Love, Eisenberg has Allen’s cadence down pat. The film also stars Kristen Stewart,
Amazon reportedly shelled out eight figures for Cafe Society. August 12 is tough weekend, but Cafe Society‘s only real competition for adult art house eyeballs is Paramount’s Hugh Grant-Meryl Streep period piece Florence Foster Jenkins. Other big titles on that date are Disney’s Pete’s Dragon, Sony’s bawdy Seth Rogen toon Sausage Party and Universal’s Spectral.