Weekend Box Office (December 31, 1999 - January 2, 2000)

THIS´┐ŻWEEKEND With Y2K fears a thing of the past, North American moviegoers spent nearly $100M on movie tickets over the first weekend of the new decade. Family films saw big gains over the Christmas frame as most pictures saw sales that exceeded those for the previous session. Five titles collected over $11M each indicating a healthy variety of product for film fans to choose from. However, some expensive films anchored by major Hollywood stars struggled to find acceptance. Meanwhile, Satan never surfaced in New York City allowing Arnold Schwarzenegger to enjoy a peaceful New Year's celebration in Hollywood.

Scurrying back to number one over the holiday weekend was the popular kidpic Stuart Little which ate up another $16M in ticket sales, according to final studio figures. The Sony hit saw sales leap 36% over last weekend's Christmas frame allowing the talking mouse to collect a hearty $79.4M in only 17 days. With a hefty price tag of $103M, Stuart Little followed in the footsteps of other successful holiday family films like Toy Story, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Aladdin which also made a return trip to number one over New Year's weekend at a time when the genre attracts huge audiences. Averaging a solid $5,525 per theater, Stuart Little will have no problem hitting the $100M level soon and should eventually surpass $125M.

The mighty Toy Story 2 enjoyed a 20% jump in traffic and hauled in $12.4M over New Year's weekend. The Disney/Pixar sequel surpassed the $191.8M domestic total of the 1995 original on Thursday, its 37th day of national release. On Saturday, Toy Story 2 smashed the $200M mark making it the fourth release of 1999 to reach that milestone. With $208.9M and counting, the animated adventure has become the fourth highest-grossing film for Buena Vista ever, and now sits at number 25 on the all-time domestic blockbuster list between last year's Saving Private Ryan ($216.1M) and 1985's Back to the Future ($208.2M). Carrying a reported production cost of $90M, Toy Story 2 should have enough strength to make it to at least $250M stateside in the months ahead.

Paramount's The Talented Mr. Ripley made off with $12.4M in its second weekend of release giving the thriller an impressive cume of $39.8M in just nine days. However, Ripley was one of few films to decline from last weekend's performance which was actually a two-day figure making the 3% drop even more disturbing. Advertisements do not clearly outline its plot so moviegoers may not know what to expect. But the $40M Matt Damon flick has certainly brought in solid sales thus far and could be on its way to $70-80M domestically.

Tom Hanks rose a notch to fourth place with the prison tale The Green Mile which grossed $11.8M in its fourth weekend of release. The $60M Warner Bros. hit has taken in $76.7M to date and seems likely to become the tenth $100M+ domestic blockbuster for the two-time Oscar winner.

With plenty of corporate-sponsored college football bowl games and season-ending NFL drama keeping sports fans glued to their televisions, Any Given Sunday, which topped the final weekend box office of the 1990s, fell to fifth place in its sophomore weekend with $11.7M. Retreating 14%, the $55M Oliver Stone film has scored an impressive $45.8M in 12 days of release for Warner Bros. A $75-85M final tally could result by the end of the fourth quarter.

Final studio figures proved what some distributors had insisted on Sunday - that the weekend estimates Warner Bros. released on Sunday morning for its pair of dramas were far too optimistic. The studio's estimates of $13.2M and $13.1M for The Green Mile and Any Given Sunday respectively, were each about $1.4M higher than the final results. The pair of pics easily walked away with all the publicity of being in second and third place in the entertainment media even though their real positions would turn out to be lower.

Galaxy Quest rose to sixth place jumping 38% from its two-day Christmas debut to $9.7M. After nine days of release, the $60M sci-fi comedy has captured $27.3M for DreamWorks and could be headed for $50-60M overall. Disney's Bicentennial Man saw grosses rise 22% to a weekend take of $8.3M. After its third frame, the $90M+ Robin Williams family pic has collected $39.6M and may top out at about $60M. Deuce Bigalow kept things shaking in eighth with $5.7M in ticket sales pushing the total for the $18M comedy to a solid $46.5M.

Next came two big star vehicles that have struggled during the holiday season. Jim Carrey's highly publicized Andy Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon suffered the worst decline in the top ten dropping 28% in its sophomore weekend to $5.4M. With just $24.6M in 12 days, Universal's risky $52M R-rated picture might end the laughter with just $40M making it the least successful Jim Carrey starrer ever. The A-list actor may have been able to attract millions to his silly comedies, but the more serious Man on the Moon just has not excited the public that much at all, despite being praised by critics for the acting talents of the film's anchor.

Moviegoers seeking romance spent $5.4M on Anna and the King which claimed the ten spot. With $24.7M in the royal bank, the $75M Fox release looks to retire with a disappointing $40M domestically.

Disney proudly unveiled its ambitious IMAX film Fantasia 2000 on January 1st in 76 cinemas across the planet. In North America, the animated film premiered on 54 screens and grossed a record $2.3M over the Saturday-Sunday period putting it in 12th place overall with a staggering $42,417 average. 1998's Everest currently holds the all-time IMAX record with $74.2M in domestic sales but Fantasia 2000 hopes to give the mountain movie a run for its money.

Opening in New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto, Universal's The Hurricane was a top contender in limited release with $332,967 from only 11 theaters giving the boxing saga a muscular $30,270 per ring. The Denzel Washington picture has picked up $489,552 since the opening bell sounded on Wednesday and will attack many more markets this Friday before its national rollout on the 14th.

Compared to projections, Stuart Little came in a couple of notches below my $18M forecast. Toy Story 2 was very near my $14M prediction but The Talented Mr. Ripley could not reach my $18M projection. The Green Mile came close to my $11M forecast.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on your choice for the biggest box office star of the 1990s. In last week's survey, readers were asked which of five films was their favorite blockbuster of 1999. Of 6,501 responses, 35% picked Star Wars Episode I, 26% chose Toy Story 2, 20% voted for The Matrix, 17% said The Sixth Sense, and 2% went with Austin Powers 2.

Be sure to read the NEW Weekly Rewind column which reports on the top January openings of the past decade. For reviews of The Talented Mr. Ripley and Man on the Moon visit The Chief Report.

The top ten films over the weekend grossed $98.8M which was up 3% from last year when Patch Adams held steady at number one with $19.1M, but off 1% from 1998 when the mighty Titanic dominated with $33.3M.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Magnolia featuring Tom Cruise expands into nationwide release.

Marketplace: Shop for videos, DVDs, music, books, and electronics at discounted prices using search engines

# Title Dec. 31 - Jan. 2 Dec. 24 - 26 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Dist.
1 Stuart Little $ 16,022,757 $ 11,816,099 35.6 2,900 3 $ 5,525 $ 79,403,127 Sony
2 Toy Story 2 12,424,539 10,376,676 19.7 3,102 7 4,005 208,851,257 Buena Vista
3 The Talented Mr. Ripley 12,387,523 12,738,237 -2.8 2,309 2 5,365 39,771,649 Paramount
4 The Green Mile 11,775,891 9,264,116 27.1 2,875 4 4,096 76,682,014 Warner Bros.
5 Any Given Sunday 11,658,852 13,584,625 -14.2 2,505 2 4,654 45,752,119 Warner Bros.
6 Galaxy Quest 9,705,901 7,012,630 38.4 2,442 2 3,975 27,311,918 DreamWorks
7 Bicentennial Man 8,282,585 6,780,948 22.1 2,767 3 2,993 39,610,696 Buena Vista
8 Deuce Bigalow 5,749,165 5,211,199 10.3 2,162 4 2,659 46,538,329 Buena Vista
9 Man on the Moon 5,405,400 7,515,585 -28.1 2,079 2 2,600 24,550,700 Universal
10 Anna and the King 5,362,413 4,468,421 20.0 2,129 3 2,519 24,732,782 Fox
11 The World Is Not Enough 2,867,053 2,707,694 5.9 1,712 7 1,675 117,877,025 MGM/UA
12 Fantasia 2000 2,290,525 54 1 42,417 2,290,525 Buena Vista
13 Sleepy Hollow 1,556,160 1,502,675 3.6 1,492 7 1,043 92,839,722 Paramount
14 The Cider House Rules 1,547,749 712,008 117.4 332 4 4,662 4,201,516 Miramax
15 End of Days 1,275,605 1,306,110 -2.3 1,063 6 1,200 63,181,290 Universal
16 American Beauty 499,030 322,143 54.9 293 16 1,703 71,017,815 DreamWorks
17 Being John Malkovich 472,661 302,111 56.5 249 10 1,898 18,243,969 USA
18 Liberty Heights 426,375 377,580 12.9 115 7 3,708 2,286,654 Warner Bros.
19 Mansfield Park 422,423 241,289 75.1 148 7 2,854 2,472,250 Miramax
20 The End of the Affair 363,449 227,898 59.5 58 5 6,266 1,555,329 Sony
Top 5 $ 64,269,562 $ 57,779,753 11.2
Top 10 98,775,026 88,768,536 11.3
Top 20 110,496,056 96,797,532 14.2

Last Updated : January 5 at 9:00AM EST

Written by Gitesh Pandya