(This article has been updated since its original posting. See note below.)
Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is going strong at the box office as the film's slow expansion — now 304 theaters in its third weekend of release — brought in $7 million for a strong per screen average of around $23,000.
"Grand Budapest" rose to No. 7 at the box office and raised its total ticket sales to about $13.2 million. It's a rollout that in its first week brought in $800,000 from four theaters, two each in Los Angeles and New York, for an astonishing per-screen average of $200,000. That number made "Grand Budapest" the highest-grossing live-action limited opening of all time, besting the record set in 2012 by Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master."
Before "The Master," the limited-release opening record was held by Wes Anderson's 2012 "Moonrise Kingdom," which went on to gross $45.5 million.
Anderson's biggest box office success remains the 2001 film "The Royal Tenenbaums" at more than $52 million. Judging whether "Grand Budapest" is on track to beat that mark is difficult, given the inconsistent way Anderson's previous films have been released.
In its third week, "The Royal Tenenbaums" was in fewer than 300 theaters and had grossed slightly more than $12 million. Wes Anderson's animated 2009 film, "Fantastic Mr. Fox," was in more than 2,000 theaters by its third weekend but logged only $8 million for those three days; it went on to make only $21 million. Anderson's 2007 film, "The Darjeeling Limited," was in only 95 theaters in its third week, and it went on to make less than $12 million.
Distributor Fox Searchlight said it plans to expand "Grand Budapest" into more than 800 theaters next week, with additional expansion after that.
"We are seeing large audiences beyond the art house and specialized crowd and have definitely begun to cross over into the mainstream," said Frank Rodriguez, senior vice president at Fox Searchlight. "Younger fans and first-time Wes Anderson filmgoers are beginning to check into 'The Grand Budapest Hotel.' "
The film tells the story of a 1930s concierge at a grand European hotel as seen through the eyes of his protege, a young lobby boy. The film stars Ralph Fiennes as the concierge and Tony Revolori at the lobby boy. The cast also includes Saoirse Ronan, Bill Murrary, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Adrien Brody, Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Mathieu Amalric and Léa Seydoux.
Anderson's distinctive style of filmmaking has come to be seen by many as sui generis, inspiring countless lists, charts and videos marking his stylistics tics and thematic recurrences. For his part, Anderson, a three-time Oscar nominee, sees each film entirely on its own.
"To me each one is just a completely new ball of wax, if I'm using that expression properly. I'm not really using that expression properly. But anyway, you get the idea," Anderson said in a recent interview with The Times.
"I just don't know what doesn't keep them distinctive," he added. "I know often people see my movies linked to each other, which I totally understand why they see that, but for me I'm just doing a completely different story. I make no effort to make them anything like each other. I just do 'em the way I like to do 'em."
Corrected: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said "Fantastic Mr. Fox" grossed $7 million in its third weekend of release.
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