It's conventional wisdom that Woody Allen's American fan base has all but deserted him over the last 20 years. Between his 1990s personal scandals and a series of hit-or-miss movies that seemed like pale xeroxes of his earlier films, viewers in his own country had pretty much abandoned him to the French. So how, then, can one explain the smash success of his current 'Midnight in Paris,' which has grossed more than any movie Allen has made in his four-decade career?
The romantic comedy, which was still in the top 10 at the box office last weekend before falling to number 12 this weekend after more than two months in theaters, has grossed $45.7 million in North America as of July 28. That tops the $40.1 million grossed by Allen's 'Hannah and Her Sisters' a quarter century ago, and it doubles the earnings of such recent modest Allen hits as 2008's 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona' and 2005's 'Match Point,' both of which grossed about $23.2 million.
Adjusted for inflation, Allen's biggest hit is still 1979's 'Manhattan,' which earned $39.9 million - about $130 million in today's ticket prices. Still, 'Midnight in Paris' has also earned $33.5 million overseas, for a worldwide total of $79.2 million, and it shows little sign of slowing down anytime soon.
What's behind the film's windfall? Here are some possible answers: