Asteroid City Gave Wes Anderson The Biggest Box Office Weekend Of His Career


There's been a fair bit of bad box office news going around as of late, with "The Flash," "Transformers: Rise of the Beasts," and Pixar's "Eternal" disappointing at the box office, while original films continue to struggle when it comes to finding an audience. Case in point? "About My Father," "The Machine," and "Kandahar" all tanked on the same weekend last month. But Wes Anderson has come to save the day as the filmmaker's latest "Asteroid City" had a great recent weekend. So much so that it now ranks as the best single weekend for a movie in Anderson's storied career.

The star-studded "Asteroid City" expanded into 1,675 theaters last weekend after launching in just a handful the week before. Coming in sixth place, the film took in $9 million, bringing its domestic total to $10.26 million. More importantly, as noted by The Hollywood Reporter, that sets a new high bar for Anderson, with "The Grand Budapest Hotel" serving as the previous record-holder. The 2014 film, which eventually nabbed a Best Picture Oscar nomination, earned $8.5 million in its fourth weekend nine years ago.

As it stands, "Asteroid City" has earned $6.47 million internationally, bringing its total to $16.7 million. Focus Features is distributing the offbeat comedy, which carried a budget of $25 million. If things continue to go well, the film has a real shot at breaking even during its theatrical run. The question is whether or not it can beat Anderson's "The French Dispatch," which earned $45.1 million worldwide in 2021, serving as one of the rare wins for a theatrical original in the post-pandemic era.

News the industry sorely needs

"Asteroid City" takes place in 1955 as a Junior Stargazer/Space Cadet convention is spectacularly disrupted by world-changing events. It's headlined by the likes of Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, and Tom Hanks. Anderson, whose credits include "The Royal Tenenbaums" and "Moonrise Kingdom," has had a remarkably enduring career despite, generally speaking, not having huge breakout hits at the box office, save for "Grand Budapest Hotel" ($163.5 million worldwide/$31 million budget).

Yet, Anderson has had consistent appeal and his films tend to have staying power. The appeal of his good name is welcome right now, as the industry is desperately trying to find a path forward in the aftermath of the pandemic. The streaming business is in flux, even big franchise films aren't doing business as expected right now (with inflated budgets not helping matters), and original movies have a near-impossible time outside of streaming. A24's "Everything Everywhere All At Once" was very much the exception and not the rule.

That being the case, the success Anderson is enjoying right now in the midst of an overly-crowded summer movie season is a welcome surprise. It offers hope that mid-budget, theatrical originals absolutely still have a future.

"Asteroid City" is in theaters now.