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'Midnight in Paris' has a strong opening

Buoyed by a strong showing at the Cannes Film Festival, the film gives Woody Allen his best limited-release opening.

May 23, 2011

"Midnight in Paris" packed in Angelenos and New Yorkers this weekend, scoring the best limited-release opening ever for Woody Allen as it opened in the two cities.

Riding a wave of good reviews and publicity from the Cannes Film Festival, Allen's new film, starring Owen Wilson as a writer drawn to the City of Light, opened to $578,805, according to an estimate from distributor Sony Pictures Classics. That's a strong performance considering the picture was playing at just six theaters, two in Los Angeles and four in New York. Despite Allen's New York roots and sensibility, the Landmark Theatre in West Los Angeles was the highest-grossing location for the picture.

Its per-theater average of $96,468 is not only the best ever for Allen but also the best of 2011 and the 15th highest of all time, not accounting for ticket-price inflation, according to Box Office Mojo.

Allen's last movie, "You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger," in September also opened in six theaters, but it took in only $160,103.

The fantastic start demonstrates that with his 41st film, the 75-year-old Allen can fill auditoriums when the buzz is good. However it remains to be seen whether "Midnight in Paris" will appeal to a broader audience as it expands to more cities, including San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis, Phoenix and Washington, D.C., on Friday.

—Ben Fritz

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