News

Weekend Box Office

by Brandon Gray
November 9, 1999

The Bone Collector handily slaughtered the competition, opening with $16.7 million from 2,587 theaters. This was the second best opening of Denzel Washington's career behind Crimson Tide's $18.6 million, marking a return to form for him after a few years of mostly bombs. Angelina Jolie must be rather pleased too, as this was the first hit of her career. This was also the biggest opening ever for a serial killer thriller. That's not much of a feat though, as this genre has tended to open more modestly, yet go on to make a bundle from word-of-mouth, as The Silence of the Lambs and Seven did. However, word-of-mouth is considerably worse for Bone, so it should fall far short of their grosses.

The Bachelor grossed $7.5 million from 2,522 theaters, $500,000 less than New Line estimated. This was rather inexcusable on their part. They proposed that the picture would drop just 17% on Sunday, when the average for the season is around 40% and usually more for date pictures. And, sure enough, it did drop 46% on Sunday. New Line spent a fortune to promote the $26 million production, so I suppose they didn't want to suffer the indignity of coming in third in their first week in addition to all the money they'll be losing.

The Insider grossed a modest $6.7 million from 1,809 theaters. Given the subject matter, they couldn't have expected to make much more than this. Strong word-of-mouth could propel it to a final gross of around $30 million.

Being John Malkovich added 150 theaters and saw its gross rise 190% to $1.9 million. Though its $10,583 average was strong, it still does not suggest that it will be a mainstream hit. It is scheduled to add around 500 theaters on Friday, but will likely see its average plummet around 50% or more. Princess Mononoke expanded less successfully. After going from 8 to 38 theaters, its average dropped from $18,056 to $10,111 for a $384,220 over the weekend. This is outstanding for anime, but not befitting a picture intended to be an event.

House on Haunted Hill predictably plummeted over 50% to $7.7 million. Music of the Heart must have strong word-of-mouth as it dropped 23% to $2.8 million. It's 10-day total stands at a paltry $7.7 million though. The Best Man performed solidly again, grossing $4.3 million and putting it well on its way to becoming the biggest urban picture since Soul Food.

Meanwhile, Double Jeopardy crossed $100 million on Friday, making it the 15th picture to do so this year. If three more pictures cross can do that this year, it will make 1999 the year with the most $100 million pictures ever. Come on 1999. You can do it!

Many of the holdovers held up extraordinarily well. The Sixth Sense phenomenon continued, dropping just 2% to $3.1 million. More eye popping was how Superstar jumped up 11% after losing 286 theaters. Even Fight Club's descent slowed down as it dropped just 24% after seeing drops of about twice that in previous weeks. Perhaps Halloween had a greater effect on the box office than previously thought, as most of the strong holds were by pictures with demographics skewing younger.

Overall box office was up 17% over last weekend, but down 24% compared to the same weekend last year when The Waterboy topped the chart with a whopping $39.4 million.



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