Ed Bedford 11:44 p.m., June 19
Midnight in Paris Woody Allen's Biggest Grosser to Date
It's like I've always said: give the folks in La Jolla what they want, and they'll turn out in droves every time.
Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen's 42nd feature, has become his highest grossing film of all time in North America.
Midnight stars Owen Wilson in the role normally reserved for Woody, now too old to consider playing the romantic lead opposite anyone other than his bride, Soon-Yi. Aryan surfer-dude Wilson turns out to be a surprisingly canny choice for an alternate Woody. Many were pleasantly surprised to see how well he pulled it off, particularly in light of former Woody-subs Will Ferrell, Jason Biggs, Larry David, and even John Cusack.
Wilson plays a Hollywood screenwriter who accompanies his bride-to-be and her disapproving parents on a trip to Paris. Not unlike the characters created by his literary hero F. Scott Fitzgerald, Wilson's one-time dreams of authoring the great American novel are eventually quashed by the allure of Hollywood gold. But, during a midnight stroll, Wilson discovers a portal to the past, a magic carriage ready to transport him back to the jazz age, where he rubs elbows with high-brows the likes of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Picasso, Bunuel, and Dali.
A lifelong fan of Mr. Allen (I was there the day Take the Money and Run premiered and have seen everything since either on or before opening day), it was somewhat disheartening to note how comparatively puny the record is. To date, Midnight in Paris has taken in $41,792,695. Adjusting for inflation, Woody's biggest grossing picture to date, Hannah and Her Sisters, took in $80 million at the box office. Annie Hall, Woody's Oscar-winning "nervous romance," is more in line with contemporary thinking. What earned $38 million in 1977 today would command the same purchase power as $138 million.
Midnight in Paris is currently playing at Landmark's Hillcrest and La Jolla Village Cinemas.