'Midnight in Paris' has secret formula to lure adult moviegoers

Midnightparis2Story Almost anybody with enough money and marketing muscle can get millions of wide-eyed fanboys to see a $150-million comic book superhero movie. But if you want to earn some real respect from your peers in the movie-marketing trade, you have to do something really daunting, such as turning Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" into the surprise hit of the summer.

Until now, the conventional wisdom held that Allen was in an irreversible career decline. The 75-year-old filmmaker has made nine films since 2000, with only two of them taking in more than $10.5 million at the box office. The critics had long ago abandoned any real passion for Allen, who seemed content to churn out lightweight romantic comedies that appealed only to his die-hards and aging urban cognoscenti. After all, most of Allen's box-office business came from theaters in the 15 or 20 top latte-sipping markets in the country.

But "Midnight in Paris," Allen's disarming literary fantasy about a disaffected Hollywood screenwriter who finds romance during his late-night rambles through Paris, is a genuine hit, having earned more than $35 million in the United States and nearly as much overseas. The film, which cost $30 million to make, is still in the top 10 box-office movies of the week after seven weeks of release. And even more surprisingly, it's doing business everywhere, even in small towns like Kerrville, Texas, the hometown of Sony Pictures Classics co-chairman Michael Barker, where the film has been playing at the Rio 10 Cinema for the last month.

"That's definitely a first for us," Barker says. "My stepmother is really happy, because she finally

07/07/2011 16:21

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