Weekend Box Office (June 12 - 14, 1998)
THIS WEEKEND Audiences tuned in for The Truman Show making it the number one picture for the second straight weekend with $20M in ticket sales. Down a respectable 37%, the Jim Carrey media satire pushed its ten day gross to an impressive $64.5M and should reach the $100M mark by the end of the month. Although a 37% dropoff is average for a film, The Truman Show was expected to hold up better due to its glorious reviews and strong word-of-mouth. Also, Paramount widened the release by 547 theaters giving The Truman Show a per-theater average of $6,992 which was off a sharp 49% from last weekend's debut average of $13,625.
However, The Truman Show was the first movie in five years to spend back-to-back weekends at number one during the month of June. Jurassic Park spent three straight weekends at number one in June of 1993. The Hollywood studios have used this month as a launching pad for some of their biggest pictures spreading the debuts for potential blockbusters across each weekend in June which allows few films to repeat at number one.
With $64.5M in the bank after ten days, The Truman Show is running 9% behind the pace of Jim Carrey's last film Liar, Liar. That comedy opened as powerfully as The Truman Show, but was able to gross $71M in its first ten days and went on to finish with $181.4M. Of course Liar, Liar was the type of film that audiences usually expect from Carrey, while Truman was a risky attempt at drama for the comic superstar. With audiences accepting Carrey's more serious side, the star of Ace Ventura and Dumb and Dumber will be able to diversify his roles in the future since he has broken through his comedy shell and proven that he can make money in other genres as well. If The Truman Show continues to depreciate at its current level, it should achieve a final gross between $130-150M.
Harrison Ford's latest offering Six Days, Seven Nights debuted with a strong second place showing earning $16.5M. The Disney romantic adventure film, also starring Anne Heche, averaged a solid $6,465 per theater in 2,550 locations and enjoyed the biggest opening for the studio since last November's Flubber. While not spectacular, the launch for Six Days was very good as it bested last year's $14.3M debut of Ford's cop drama The Devil's Own, while trailing the actor's blockbuster from last summer, Air Force One, which opened with $37.1M. Six Days, Seven Nights was reportedly budgeted at around $70M.
Buena Vista Distribution President Phil Barlow was excited about the opening of his studio's new release and noted that its 44% Friday-to-Saturday increase was extremely good for a new release indicating that the film should hold up nicely. He also stated that the male-female turnout is about even and the 25-50 age group was the strongest sector. For a review of Six Days, Seven Nights visit Chief's Movie Review Page.
Slipping a notch to third place was the Michael Douglas thriller A Perfect Murder which stayed strong in its sophomore frame with an $11.3M winfall, down a commendable 32%. After ten days, the Warner Bros. remake of an Alfred Hitchcock classic has collected $34.4M which is about equal to the ten-day grosses of City of Angels and The Man in The Iron Mask. A Perfect Murder is performing very well with moviegoers and should be able to reach $70-80M at the domestic box office.
Opening in fourth place was the high school party movie Can't Hardly Wait with $8M. The Sony comedy starring Jennifer Love Hewitt was aimed squarely at teens and young adults and posted a decent opening weekend averaging $4,039 in 1,987 sites. Can't Hardly Wait opened a bit below some other movies this year targeting young adults like Wild Things and Great Expectations which opened with $9.6M each. With Can't Hardly Wait actually dropping on Saturday, compared to Friday, look for it to fade away by the end of the month and reach a final gross of about $20-25M. That should allow the $13 million production to break even before hitting other ancillary markets.
The stumbling Godzilla has finally leveled off and slid 36% as it took a box office bite of $6.2M. Its total thus far stands at $123.7M. If it were to continue losing 35% per week, Godzilla would be able to reach about $148M. With a more substantial 45% weekly dropoff, the Sony monster movie would only go as far as $140M. By comparison, if Deep Impact continues to slide 35% each week, it would end its run with about $141M. In its sixth lap with ticket buyers, the Paramount/DreamWorks comet picture continues to attract consistent business. In worldwide sales, Deep Impact has zoomed to $220M.
Opening poorly in ninth was the revenge-for-hire comedy Dirty Work with $3.6M. Playing in 1,776 theaters, the Norm Macdonald film from MGM averaged only $2,046. Dirty Work will play off fast and is likely to finish with about $10M overall. Elsewhere in the top ten, Sandra Bullock's Hope Floats is performing decently and is headed towards $60M while The Horse Whisperer is still showing strong legs and is galloping towards an impressive $80M. In limited release, Cousin Bette, starring Elisabeth Shue, opened in 14 locations with $76,488 averaging an OK, but not impressive $5,463.
Titanic extended its consecutive top ten appearance streak to 26 weekends, although just barely. Weekend estimates had the James Cameron picture just slightly below Bulworth, but with Sunday ticket sales now counted, Titanic edged out the Warren Beatty political comedy by roughly $13,000 and took sole possession of tenth place. With 26 weekends in the top ten, the Academy Award winner tied another Paramount Oscar champ, Forrest Gump. However, Gump's total represents 19 consecutive frames in 1994 plus 7 more back-to-back weekends in early 1995 when the Tom Hanks film was campaigning for Hollywood's golden statues.
Compared to my projections, The Truman Show fell harder than expected and did not reach my $24M forecast. Six Days, Seven Nights also came in under my prediction which was $21M. However, A Perfect Murder and Can't Hardly Wait each matched my respective projections of $11M and $8M. Dirty Work opened very close to my forecast of $4M.
Don't forget to voice your opinion in this week's new Reader Survey on The X Files Movie. In last week's survey, readers predicted that Armageddon would be this summer's box office champion as it collected 32.6% of the vote. Following Armageddon were The Truman Show (27.7%), The X Files (12.9%), Saving Private Ryan (12.4%), Godzilla (8.6%), Deep Impact (2.4%), and "Other" with 3.4%.
The top ten films grossed $80.5M which was up 43% from last year when Speed 2 cruised to the number one spot with $16.2M, and up 17% from 1996 when The Cable Guy opened at the top with $19.8M. Be sure to check in again on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for an exciting weekend battle between Fox's The X Files Movie and Disney's Mulan.
Below are final
studio figures for the weekend. Click
on the title to jump to its official home page:
This column is updated three times each week : Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Source : Variety, EDI. Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated : June 15, 1998 at 8:45PM EST
Written by Gitesh Pandya