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Will Oscar Contenders Break Through in a COVID-Battered Box Office?

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The French Dispatch” debuts in select theaters on Oct. 22, though it’s facing a much rockier moviegoing landscape. The domestic box office has yet to rebound to pre-pandemic levels, and the audience that has been most skittish to return is the kind that would typically be first in line for tickets to the latest feature from the beloved filmmaker of “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “Moonrise Kingdom.”“It’s not likely ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ numbers will come back anytime soon,” says Frank Rodriguez, who has led distribution at Searchlight since 2011. “The box office for films like these is probably at 30% of what it was.”The predicament is not unique to “The French Dispatch.” It’s one that is being shared throughout the independent film community.

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