Weekend Box Office (September 12 - 14, 1997)
Taking advantage of an open playing field, The
Game powered its way to a muscular debut
of $14.3M which makes it the second-biggest September opening ever after
The First Wives Club's
$18.9M debut last year. The $14.3M showing exceeded the opening weekend
performance of director David Fincher's last film, 1995's Seven,
which went on to gross $100M domestically and over $300M worldwide. For
Michael Douglas, it was his biggest opening weekend since Basic
Instinct which debuted to the sound of
$15.1M over five years ago. And Polygram could not have asked for a better
way to inaugurate their new film distribution arm. The
Game benefited from a severe lack of competition
as the other choices that audiences had were stale summer leftovers and
the second session of the Steven Seagal flop Fire
Down Below. This cleared the way for The
Game, which itself was marketed superbly,
to secure a massive amount of screens and command the attention of moviegoers.
Speaking with Bill Soady, president of distribution at Polygram Films, he stated that The Game played to the distributor's expectations. Polygram was "very satisfied" with the opening and it performed well in demographic groups across the board especially with young males. Of Polygram's maiden release Soady said "There is always pressure when releasing a film but we knew this was a great movie to start with." With good word-of-mouth, he expects The Game to continue to play strongly despite heavy competition in the weeks ahead.
The table below shows the box office performances of Michael Douglas films over the last 8 years:
With a $14.3M take, The Game outperformed the next four films combined and accounted for 37% of all dollars spent on the top ten films. It also opened stronger than my projection of $12M. For a review, visit Sujit Chawla's Movie Review Page. Elsewhere in the top ten, Demi Moore's G.I. Jane stayed strong at number two with a $3.5M gross dipping 34% which was close to my projected 35% decline. Also as predicted, Steven Seagal's Fire Down Below fizzled dropping 46% to third place with a $3.3M gross bringing its 10-day total to $11.3M. Money Talks followed in fourth with $3.2M - down 35% as predicted. Expanding from 45 to 386 screens, The Full Monty scored a hefty $2.9M, or $7,550 per screen, to land at number five exceeding my projection of $2M.
Most other films saw small or average dropoffs as the top ten posted the second-lowest cumulative gross of the year with $38.5M. Spending its eighth session in the top ten, Air Force One dipped by just 27% upping its cume to $163.2M. Swinging into second-run theaters was Disney's George of the Jungle which returned to the top ten at number ten as it races to be the tenth release of the year to cross the $100M mark. It has grossed $98.6M to date.
For a wrapup of the summer, be sure to check The Top 30 Films of the Summer 1997 Box Office Season.
Overall, the top ten films grossed $38.5M which was up 16% from last year and up 25% from 1995. 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 a week : Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Source : Variety, EDI.
Send comments to Gitesh Pandya at email@example.com