ISSUES WITH SEPTEMBER: After an extensive promotional blitz, “The September Issue,” a behind-the-couture look at the creation of Vogue’s September 2007 issue, finally opened in New York City over the weekend.
So how did it do? The movie, which aired on six screens, took in a total weekend gross of $240,078, for an average of $40,013 per screen, according to figures released Sunday afternoon by the film’s distributor, Roadside Attractions.
And if the hype and the promise of the film’s access to the inner circle weren’t enough to lure the fashion curious to the six theaters in Manhattan where it was playing, there were the mostly favorable reviews. New York magazine’s David Edelstein called it a “guilty pleasure”; Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman gave the documentary an “A,” and the New York Daily News rated the movie, directed by R.J. Cutler, three-and-a-half out of five stars.
Though most reviewers lauded Vogue creative director Grace Coddington as the breakout star of the 88-minute film, Anna Wintour’s on-screen persona played less well in some circles. “In interviews with Cutler, Wintour is withholding and stand-offish, just as she is with her staff,” wrote Marshall Fine for The Huffington Post. “She’s a poor little rich girl swaddled in fur and iced to the bone,” wrote The New York Times’ Manohla Dargis. And Kyle Smith of The New York Post, who rated the movie three out of four stars, described Wintour with “fangy bangs that you could open an envelope on, her mirth-free smile, the Frisbee-sized shades that conceal her arctic skin crevasses but add to her polar froideur. Brrrr! I’m wearing a winter coat as I write.”
Nevertheless, some critics left wanting more. “Unfortunately for audiences, Ms. Wintour, perhaps mindful of her icy reputation, perhaps simply mindful of the cameras, is on her best behavior,” said Joanne Kaufman of The Wall Street Journal, who panned the film, calling it “listless” and “old news” since it’s about an issue of the magazine that came out two years ago.
The documentary opens nationwide on Sept. 11.
— Stephanie D. Smith