Weekend Box Office (November 19 - 21, 1999)
*** Phantom Menace Re-Release Update ***
THIS WEEKEND Box office sales soared as for the first time in history, two new films opened with over $30M each during the same frame. The spy actioner The World Is Not Enough and the spooky Sleepy Hollow made for a lethal tag team duo absorbing any and all dollars and decapitating the competiton in the process as most holdovers suffered declines of 40-60% a piece. For the first time in over three months the top ten films grossed over $100M as a new pre-Thanksgiving weekend high was set with ease signaling heavy traffic at theaters this holiday season.
James Bond reigned supreme as the planet's favorite spy took the box office by storm with a mammoth $35.5M opening for The World Is Not Enough, according to final studio figures. The action-adventure bowed ultrawide in 3,163 theaters for a stellar $11,230 average per mission. Pierce Brosnan's third installment in the franchise easily generated the largest opening ever for both the long-running series and for its studio MGM/UA. 1995's Goldeneye had previously held the both records with its $26.2M debut four years ago this weekend. Priced at over $100M, World also claimed the fifth biggest opening of the year and the fourth largest November premiere in history behind last year's The Waterboy ($39.4M), 1995's Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls ($37.8M), and 1994's Interview with the Vampire ($36.4M). With a serious lack of brand name action films in the last several months, audiences embraced The World Is Not Enough apparently indicating that demand for the ageless hero is as high as ever.
Also starring Denise Richards, Sophie Marceau, and Robert Carlyle, the 19th James Bond adventure will quickly move into worldwide release and hopes to challenge the lofty commercial heights of the last two films in the series. Goldeneye brought the franchise back to life in 1995 with a $106.4M domestic take and a $351M global haul. Tomorrow Never Dies improved upon its predecessor with a $125.3M domestic run while a stronger U.S. dollar in 1998 kept the worldwide total to $343M. MGM/UA should give Pierce Brosnan that sporty BMW Z8 as a thank you gift for keeping the studio in business. Tomorrow Never Dies, The Thomas Crown Affair, and now The World Is Not Enough are the company's three biggest hits of the last three years.
By comparison, Timothy Dalton, the Bond before Brosnan, starred in two movies as Agent 007 - 1987's The Living Daylights and 1989's License To Kill. Those films grossed $51M and $34M respectively at the domestic box office forcing many to believe that the franchise would die. Interestingly, the exact opening weekend grosses that MGM/UA has reported for their last three Bond movies have all had some clever digits at the end - $35,519,007 for The World Is Not Enough, $25,143,007 for Tomorrow Never Dies, and $26,205,007 for Goldeneye.
Heads certainly rolled as Paramount's creepy tale Sleepy Hollow played to packed houses opening with an enormous $30.1M. Tim Burton's latest directorial effort debuted in 3,064 theaters and averaged a powerful $9,811 per site. Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci starred in this latest telling of the Washington Irving story about a headless horseman who killed local townspeople two hundred years ago. Sleepy Hollow delivered one of the biggest openings in Paramount history as the studio backed the hit film with a very aggressive marketing campaign and had the often media-shy duo of Burton and Depp make the rounds doing ample press to support the project. With theatrical spending at an all-time seasonal high, and the lucrative Thanksgiving weekend around the corner, the $70M Sleepy Hollow looks to become a solid performer.
Moviegoers traded away their Pokémon tickets as last weekend's top draw got clobbered in its second try. The animated film fell sharply by 60% and took in $12.5M bringing its 12-day total to $67.4M which is still very impressive. Since most of its fan base has already seen the film, and with Disney's highly-anticipated Toy Story 2 opening nationwide on Wednesday, Pokémon should fade fast but an overall domestic total of close to $100M seems possible.
The Bone Collector picked up another $6.5M to take fourth place over the weekend. Universal's crime thriller dropped 46% in its third attack and has nabbed a solid $45.1M in 17 days of release. The Denzel Washington-Angelina Jolie picture looks headed for the vicinity of $65M. Falling 53% in its second coming, Kevin Smith's Dogma grossed $4.1M taking fifth place. After ten days, the controversial Lions Gate release has gathered $15.7M in its collection plate and looks to reach approximately $25M.
Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman placed sixth with their mother-daughter story Anywhere But Here which took in $3.3M in its sophomore weekend. Off 42%, the Fox entry has managed to sell $10.1M in tickets in ten days and might top out at $18-21M. Al Pacino smoked up an estimated $2.8M for The Insider in its third weekend to take seventh place. The Buena Vista drama was off 44% and has collected $18.3M in its box office ash tray.
The Bachelor placed eighth with $2.4M in its third date with moviegoers. Down 48%, the Chris O'Donnell romantic comedy has grossed $17.9M thus far. Sony's adventure tale The Messenger crumbled 64% in its second weekend bringing in just $2.3M. Starring Milla Jovovich as the fifteenth-century warrior Joan of Arc, the Luc Besson picture has gathered a feeble $10.5M in ten days and looks like it will have to settle for a disappointing $14-16M domestically.
With its theater total climbing from 467 to 591, the offbeat comedy Being John Malkovich made the top ten for the first time with $1.9M in its fourth weekend. The USA Films release declined 20% and has reached an encouraging $8.8M without the benefit of a full wide release.
Disney unveiled a digital run of Toy Story 2 in the El Capitan theater in Hollywood over the weekend and locked up a phenomenal $300,163. Last year, the Mouse House released fellow Pixar film A Bug's Life with the same exclusive run and grossed $291,000 at El Capitan ahead of its $45.7M five-day Thanksgiving nationwide debut. Toy Story 2 enters theaters everywhere on Wednesday.
Two of the most popular movies of the year finally said farewell to the top ten over the weekend. The Sixth Sense slid 37% and brought in $1.6M. Now in its 16th remarkable weekend, the Bruce Willis chiller has grossed $270M stateside and should have enough stamina to cross $280M. The Sixth Sense has been mentioned as a likely award nominee for its script, direction, and breakout performance by young Haley Joel Osment as the boy who sees dead people. With the announcement of Golden Globe nominations just a few weeks away, the M. Night Shyamalan-directed megablockbuster could see a second wind at the box office. That could be the spark that pushes it into the ranks of the top ten domestic grossers of all time.
Paramount's Double Jeopardy collected $1.4M in its ninth frame to boost its stellar cume to $110.8M. The $40M crime thriller starring Ashley Judd and Tommy Lee Jones was the biggest hit of the fall season and looks to finish its profitable domestic run with about $120M. Double Jeopardy is the second $100M blockbuster for Judd, fourth for Jones, and third of the year for Paramount following The General's Daughter and Runaway Bride.
Also dropping from the top ten was The House on Haunted Hill which claimed $1.5M raising its cume to $37.4M. Tumbling 65%, the $15M Warner Bros. horror flick should end its run with about $40M.
Compared to projections, both The World Is Not Enough and Sleepy Hollow surged ahead of my respective forecasts of $29M and $20M.
Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on how Toy Story 2 will open. In last week's survey, readers were asked how Double Jeopardy would have performed at the box office if it starred Jodie Foster as originally planned. Of 2,002 responses, 39% said better, 36% thought worse, while 26% said it would have fared the same.
Read the new Fall 1999 Box Office Review which looks back at the winners and losers of the last couple of months. And be sure to read the Weekly Rewind column which reports on Thanksgiving weekend from 1995. For a review of The World Is Not Enough visit The Chief Report.
The top ten films over the weekend grossed $101.3M which was up 13% from last year when The Rugrats Movie opened at number one with $27.3M, and up 33% from 1997 when Mortal Kombat : Annihilation debuted on top with $16.8M.
Be sure to check back on Wednesday (one day earlier due to the holiday) for a complete summary, including projections, for the Thanksgiving frame when Toy Story 2 and End of Days descend upon theaters everywhere.
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|#||Title||Nov. 19 - 21||Nov. 12 - 14||% Chg.||Theaters||Weeks||AVG||Cumulative||Dist.|
|1||The World Is Not Enough||$ 35,519,007||3,163||1||$ 11,230||$ 35,519,007||MGM/UA|
|4||The Bone Collector||6,531,270||12,010,225||-45.6||2,623||3||2,490||45,128,155||Universal|
|6||Anywhere But Here||3,249,861||5,607,137||-42.0||1,681||2||1,933||10,142,856||Fox|
|7||The Insider||2,829,625||5,012,416||-43.5||1,844||3||1,535||18,319,819||Buena Vista|
|8||The Bachelor||2,430,414||4,660,221||-47.8||2,337||3||1,040||17,855,321||New Line|
|10||Being John Malkovich||1,866,210||2,337,348||-20.2||591||4||3,158||8,767,533||USA|
|11||The Sixth Sense||1,615,192||2,562,649||-37.0||1,219||16||1,325||269,975,523||Buena Vista|
|12||The House on Haunted Hill||1,538,406||4,338,390||-64.5||1,807||4||851||37,362,693||Warner Bros.|
|14||The Best Man||1,336,535||2,400,855||-44.3||766||5||1,745||29,573,940||Universal|
|16||Light It Up||1,004,736||2,408,613||-58.3||1,252||2||803||4,614,441||Fox|
|17||Music of the Heart||1,000,288||1,881,288||-46.8||1,042||4||960||12,280,134||Miramax|
|18||The Omega Code||780,368||1,014,404||-23.1||395||6||1,976||10,165,821||Providence|
|Top 5||$ 88,696,378||$ 63,684,953||39.3|
This column is updated three times each week : Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Source : EDI, Exhibitor Relations. Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated : November 22 at 8:30PM EST
Written by Gitesh Pandya