Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch gets a runtime, plot synopsis, and possible release date

The film "brings to life a collection of stories from the final issue of an American magazine"


Wes Anderson, photo by Heather Kaplan

    False reports about Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch have forced Searchlight Pictures to release more details about the film. The runtime will be one hour and 45 minutes, not four hours as IMDb originally reported. Additionally, Amazon may have accidentally shared the new movie’s release date and parts of the plot.

    Searchlight Pictures (previously Fox Searchlight, since de-Foxed) had been trying to keep details of the anthology film a secret, sharing little more than the enormous, impressive cast. But last week, IMDb made an error, revealing a number of undisclosed and inaccurate details. In doing so they proved Cunningham’s Law, which states that the best way to get the right answer on the Internet is not to ask a question, it’s to post the wrong answer.

    IMDb reported that The French Dispatch would have a jaw-dropping runtime of over four hours, with an additional hour added to the director’s cut. Film Twitter started mashing the ‘share’ button, and Searchlight feared rumors of such a bladder-busting length would do irreparable harm to their bottom line. They were forced to confirm with The Playlist that the real runtime would be under two hours with credits. (As users on Twitter later pointed out, the incorrectly-posted times were actually for Lars von Trier’s pair of Nymphomaniac films.)

    (Read: Ranking Wes Anderson’s Characters From Best to Worst)


    Further secrets were divulged when Amazon accidentally posted the synopsis for the book release of Anderson’s screenplay for The French Dispatch. The additional details have since been taken down, and the current listing gives the official logline: “The French Dispatch brings to life a collection of stories from the final issue of an American magazine published in a fictional 20th-century French city.”

    But that original post hasn’t left the internet entirely, and the folks at Mandatory transcribed it thusly:

    The French Dispatch is the European edition of the Liberty, Kansas, Evening Sun – a factual, weekly report on the subjects of world politics, the arts (high and low), fashion, fancy cuisine/fine drink, and diverse stories of human interest set in faraway quartiers.

    On the death of the editor-in-chief, the editorial staff decides to publish a last, memorial edition highlighting the three best stories which appeared over the 10-year existence of the magazine. The stories involve an artist sentenced to life imprisonment for a double homicide, student riots, and a kidnapping resolved by a chef.”

    Searchlight Pictures has neither confirmed nor denied this synopsis.

    Officially, the film doesn’t have a release date. But, again, the Amazon listing had one more interesting detail: It said that the book would be available starting May 21st, which just so happens to be opening night of the Cannes Film Festival.


    Last Fall, Wes Anderson presented his pal Bill Murray with a lifetime achievement award. Unfortunately, Murray slept through the press conference.