Weekend Box Office (October 10 - 12, 1997)
Two years ago, they teamed up to catch a serial killer in Seven.
Over the Columbus Day weekend, Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt went head-to-head
at the box office with the moviegoing public handing the victory to Freeman.
Kiss the Girls
retained the top spot with an $11.1M gross, despite reviews that were far
from positive. Off just 16%, the Paramount thriller had the smallest decline
and highest per-screen average ($4,832M) in the top ten. It seemed that
the potent combination of great marketing and the starpower of Freeman
was enough to overcome mostly bad reviews. Let there be no doubts that
Morgan Freeman is a bona fide star and can open and carry a film on his
own. After ten days, Kiss
has collected $28.5M. By comparison, 1995's Seven
grossed $30.8M in its first ten days.
Like Freeman in Kiss the Girls, Brad Pitt was trying to prove that he could carry a film by himself with the epic drama Seven Years in Tibet. However, the debut for Seven Years came about a million dollars short of reaching the peak of the box office mountain and had to settle for second place with $10M. Although a good performance, it was not as big of a splash as many (including myself) had expected. The 140 minute running-time reduced the amount of showings per day at each theater which in turn decreased its potential. However, with an enlightening per-screen average of $4,765, Seven Years did show promise and could play well over the weeks to come. Its long-term success will be the true measure of the starpower of Pitt. The $10M showing is the weakest opening for a Brad Pitt film since he was pushed into the world of superstardom in 1994. The table below shows his track record going into the release of Seven Years in Tibet:
Rounding out the top five were a trio of holdovers with a few hundred thousand dollars separating them. Soul Food collected a tally of $5.6M, down 33%, in its third helping to finish in third place. The Fox 2000 family drama saw a more normal dropoff this weekend whereas last weekend it slid just 25%. With $30.3M gobbled up in its first 17 days, Food is forcing Hollywood to realize that African-American dramas can really sell tickets and be highly profitable. Fourth place went to In & Out with $5.5M, off 29%, bringing its cume to $48M. The Peacemaker from DreamWorks nabbed fifth place with $5.2M bringing the rookie's total thus far to $31.5M. Down 36%, it has been performing the way most action films do.
Aside from Seven Years in Tibet, three other freshman entered the top ten although with mostly poor results. Disney's Rocket Man launched to an unstellar $4.5M gross as it tried to capture the family crowd during a frame when kids pictures were nowhere to be found. Most Wanted, starring Keenan Ivory Wayans, was mostly ignored with just $2.8M landing it in ninth place. The last film starring the late Tupac Shakur, Gang Related, was dead-on-arrival with just $2.4M.
Kiss the Girls surprised me again this weekend as my projection had it losing 35% when it slid only 16%. Its solid performance shows that some movies can be review-proof. Seven Years in Tibet, with a $10M weekend, did not live up to the $16M I expected. With high awareness, Brad Pitt's face, and good reviews, I thought a much stronger showing was in the works. Next weekend's depreciation will be important in determining if this is a hit or not. Even with normal 30-35% weekly dropoffs, Seven Years could top out at $40M. However, with Pitt's huge fan base overseas it should have no problem doubling the domestic numbers internationally. Visit Chief's Movie Review Page for a review of Seven Years. Rocket Man's $4.5M gross was considerably less than the $7M I predicted. With no competition for kids, I thought it would be a default choice, especially with the Disney name, however there is only so much goofy slapstick humor children can take in a year. Most Wanted's $2.8M weekend came close to my $3M projection, while Gang Related's $2.4M was less than the $4M I forecasted.
Be sure to check in on Thursday for next weekend's summary which will include the new releases Devil's Advocate, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Playing God, and Boogie Nights, which was released Sunday on four screens in New York City.
Overall, the top ten
films grossed $54.3M which was up 7% from last year and up 23% from 1995.
Below are final
studio figures for the weekend. Click on the title to jump to its official
For a wrapup of the summer, be sure to check The Top 30 Films of the Summer 1997 Box Office Season.
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.
Send comments to Gitesh Pandya at email@example.com