On October 9, with little fanfare, MPI released Woody Allen’s 2019 comedy “A Rainy Day in New York.” Virtually no one noticed: Six playdates yielded $2,744, or $457 per theater, for a total of around 300 ticket buyers.
The romantic comedy, which stars Timothée Chalamet, Elle Fanning, Jude Law, Rebecca Hall, Liev Schreiber, Selena Gomez, and Diego Luna, has already played most of the world and grossed $22 million — better than his 2017 “Wonder Wheel.” An Amazon release starring Kate Winslet, that title earned $1.4 million in domestic play in the face of #MeToo backlash and mediocre reviews. Its worldwide total was $16 million.
“Rainy Day” played six specialized theaters. Three were Landmark (Chicago, Boston, and Atlanta) as well as independent outlets in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Fort Myers, Fla. Only the Century City in Chicago took in more than $1,000. Despite the poor showings, it was the best-grossing film at four of the six cinemas, at least among those that reported grosses. (Warner Bros. continues to block “Tenet” numbers.)
Certainly, the “Rainy Day” domestic performance would be improved if we lived in a post-COVID world; New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco theaters are the top markets, especially for this kind of film, and they are still closed. However, MPI is attempting a traditional platform play; the distributor plans to open six more theaters in the next two weeks.
Also limiting its playtime is an upcoming VOD date November 10, when it will be available for $9.99. The strategy behind a five-weekend theatrical exclusive is less clear, beyond perhaps producer/director preference. It did not elevate review coverage: With 14 reviews, Metacritic gives it a 40 score, with only one being strongly favorable.
In September, Allen premiered his Spanish-made “Rifkin’s Festival,” aimed at European audiences, at the San Sebastian Film Festival. Wallace Shawn plays the title character, Christoph Waltz and Louis Garrel also appear. Its chances of domestic theatrical play seem limited.