Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel" may be hitting theaters after awards season ends, but the film has landed a different kind of honor: It will open the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival.
The Fox Searchlight film will kick off the European event next February, a few weeks before its theatrical debut in the U.S. on March 7. Anderson's last picture, "Moonrise Kingdom," launched at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012, but both his "The Royal Tenenbaums" and "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou" have played in competition at Berlin in years past.
Like most of Anderson's movies, "Budapest Hotel" features a motley crew of actors, often those who've worked with him before -- Bill Murray, Ralph Fiennes, Saoirse Ronan, Edward Norton and Tilda Swinton, to name just a few. The picture centers on a European hotel concierge who, along with his trusted lobby boy, helps to recover a famous Renaissance painting.
If that sounds vague, it's because the movie's plot has proved somewhat difficult to explain. Even Anderson himself had trouble selling the film's premise to a Times reporter last year.
"Uuuuum ... it's a ... as you might gather from the title, a hotel figures prominently in it," he said. "And it's kind of European ... a bit inspired partly by Hollywood Europe, and also by some European writers around that time. Yeah. That's a little bit about it. Kind of vague, but ..."