Woody Allen adds Rome to pic plans

Amps up productivity on heels of 'Midnight' success

Woody Allen started his new movie in Rome last week because, at age 75, he was likely getting restless with unemployment. Woody’s most recent film, “Midnight in Paris,” went wide to more than 1,000 screens this week, the widest release of any of his films, and may, by summer’s end, pass his biggest grossing movie, “Hannah and Her Sisters.”

Why is Woody big at the box office once again? “On one level, he’s delivering the entertainment that the studio summer pictures used to deliver years ago,” observes Michael Barker, who, with Tom Bernard, presides over the estimable Sony Pictures Classics, which has distributed Woody’s last three films in the U.S. His films also find a wide audience abroad — “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” grossed $22.5 million in the U.S. and $59.6 million at the foreign box office, so “Midnight,” if it hits $40 million in the U.S. (it’s topped $21 million so far), might fare even better overseas.

Since Woody seems determined to keep pace with Clint Eastwood in terms of productivity, the only concern of his fans is whether he will run out of cities. Having now succeeded in Barcelona, London and Paris, would Berlin or Moscow beckon? Or even a return to New York?

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