'Moonrise Kingdom' a box-office record-breaker
For a cult filmmaker, writer-director Wes Anderson, below, has done astonishingly well with his latest, "Moonrise Kingdom," a box-office record-breaker that took in a per-theater average of $167,250 over its debut last weekend. By contrast, "Men in Black 3," released the same day, claimed an average of just $16,400.
Of course, "MIB3" ultimately earned $70 million, compared to Anderson's $670,000. But the numbers prove that the offbeat auteur has stayed true to his vision during his career and has a loyal following to show for it. If Anderson were a rock band, he'd be Death Cab for Cutie, not U2.
"Moonrise Kingdom," featuring two unknown 12-year-olds in the lead roles and a supporting cast of Bruce Willis, Edward Norton and Tilda Swinton, opens locally Friday. Here's a guide to Anderson's other unusual films:
BOTTLE ROCKET (1996) -- This cockeyed caper-comedy launched Anderson's career as a critical darling and introduced us to the Wilson brothers, Owen (who co-wrote) and Luke.
RUSHMORE (1998) -- Anderson more clearly drew his template with this yearning comedy starring Jason Schwartzman as a precocious, lovelorn teenager. Bill Murray, as his depressed rival, entered his "serious" phase here.
THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS (2001) -- The high point of Anderson's career focused on a glamorous, dysfunctional family portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller, Gene Hackman and Anjelica Huston. Bittersweet and filled with deep cuts by Elliott Smith and The Rolling Stones, it remains a Gen-X favorite.
THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU (2004) -- Murray, as an eccentric oceanographer, forms a love triangle with Owen Wilson and Cate Blanchett in a comedy-drama that many regarded as a disappointment. Its ingenious set design -- a cutaway sea vessel resembling a life-size dollhouse -- reappears somewhat in "Moonrise Kingdom."
THE DARJEELING LIMITED (2007) -- A throwaway, although Wilson, Schwartzman and Adrien Brody are convincing as estranged brothers who reunite in India. Huston shows up briefly as their not-very-motherly mother.
FANTASTIC MR. FOX (2009) -- Anderson's foray into puppet animation became a critical hit, thanks to its mix of smart dialogue and kid-friendly whimsy. George Clooney and Meryl Streep played the lead voices, while Murray, Schwartzman, Wilson and others rejoined the Anderson troupe.