The only truly disappointing development this weekend was the expansion of Wes Anderson’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” After two weekends of scorching per-theater-averages on 4 screens, the film – a stop-motion animated adaptation of the Roald Dahl book – went to 2,033 theaters and fell short of its initial promise. “Mr. Fox” grossed $7,020,000 over the 3-day weekend, and $9,499,685 over the 5-day, averaging a less-than-fantastic $3,453 and $4,673, respectively. While it has already nearly outgrossed Anderson’s last film, “The Darjeeling Limited,” its family-friendly appeal and potent limited release suggested even greater things. Instead, the likes of “Old Dogs” and “Ninja Assassin” found much greater per-theater-averages.
On the plus side, Fantastic Mr. Fox has garnered Wes the best reviews of his career. The film is currently holding an 83 at Metacritic and a 92 at Rotten Tomatoes, the best scores he’s received from either of those review aggregating sites.
The only thing to do now is to tell your cussing friends.
Fox has put out another “For Your Consideration” ad, this one targeting the Golden Globes. Check out the previous ad here, and see AwardsDaily‘s full “For Your Consideration” gallery here. Click on the picture below to view the ad full size.
Entertainment Weekly‘s Dave Karger sat down for a roundtable discussion with Wes, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray to talk about Fantastic Mr. Fox. The first part is embedded below, and it continues after the break. Unfortunately you’ll need to use the EW link to see part 3.
And for those who continue to see Mr. Fox over the holiday weekend for the first time (or second…or third) please stop by and leave us your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter.
Roger Ebert has reviewed the film, and as with The Darjeeling Limited, he awards it 3 1/2 stars. Full review after the break.
Fantastic Mr. Fox
BY ROGER EBERT / November 24, 2009
Some artists have a way of riveting your vision with the certitude of what they do. This has nothing to do with subject or style. It’s inexplicable. Andy Warhol and Grandma Moses. The spareness of Bergman or the Fellini circus. Wes Anderson is like that. There’s nothing consistent about his recent work but its ability to make me go zooinng! What else do “The Darjeeling Limited” and “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” have in common?
Scott Tobias of The A.V. Club recently sat down with Wes to discuss working on Mr. Fox (of course) but also talked film. Very good interview, full version after the break.
Now six features into his career, director Wes Anderson has established himself as the most distinctive comedy auteur of his generation, with an instantly recognizable style that’s defined by crispy composed images, idiosyncratic pop soundtracks, and a tone that balances dry wit and deep melancholy. Though his debut feature, 1996’s Bottle Rocket, only drew a small coterie of followers—mostly on video, in the wake of his MTV Movie Award for Best New Filmmaker—Anderson raised his profile enormously with his 1998 follow-up Rushmore, which revived Bill Murray’s critical reputation and influenced a wave of indie films that followed. From there, Anderson and a rotating cast of players have continued to make new variations on his themes of family and outsidership, including 2001’s The Royal Tenenbaums, 2004’s The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, and 2007’s The Darjeeling Limited.
Though adapted from a Roald Dahl book and shot using the painstaking stop-motion animation process, Anderson’s latest effort, Fantastic Mr. Fox, seems right at home with the rest of his filmography. George Clooney voices the rebellious eponymous character, the head of a Tenenbaum-like family of foxes trying to balance civility with their nature as wild animals. When three mean farmers—Boggis, Bunce, and Bean—try to flush the thieving Mr. Fox from his underground hideaway, he and his cohorts embark on a wild adventure to protect their way of life. Anderson recently spoke to The A.V. Club about meshing Dahl’s voice with his own, directing the animation remotely, and what this film has in common with Where The Wild Things Are.
A brief interview with animator Brad Schiff on the detailed work of animating Fantastic Mr. Fox from the world renowned San Antonio Current. Full interview after the break.
OCD like a ‘Fox;
Yes, Wes is a perfectionist
By Cynthia Hawkins
Hand-knitted grass. Cotton-ball smoke. Bath-towel hillsides. Puppets wait on the verge of their next expression on this meticulously arranged set as a man reaches in from the dim periphery to tweak the gesture of a diminutive paw. This is Brad Schiff, animator for Fantastic Mr. Fox. “I often have that thousand-yard stare when I walk out,” Schiff says of his work. It’s a world in which, typically, minutia is magnified and the movement incremental, but in the hands of director Wes Anderson, even the details have details.
Schiff had just wrapped work on Coraline before joining Anderson’s first stop-motion animated feature-in-progress, which is based on Roald Dahl’s book. A sense of deliberateness marks Anderson’s well-established style — action meted out in theatrical set pieces, costuming oddly out of time, understated dialogue rife with pregnant pauses. Under his direction, everything from wallpaper to wristwatches somehow rings with intense purposefulness. Schiff assures that Anderson’s stylistic quirks remain intact in Fantastic Mr. Fox, the very quirks which make his choice of stop-motion animation, scrupulous and controlled, a perfect one.