Weekend Box Office (December 3 - 5, 1999)

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THIS WEEKEND Film fans munched on leftovers as the top ten movies saw little change from the previous holiday weekend. Studios seldom roll out major releases on the weekend following Thanksgiving since consumers are known to cut back on their box office spending as wallets are left empty after the Turkey Day frame. The four primary pictures all performed consistently with years past dropping 50-55% each. However, thanks to better product and increases in ticket prices, cumulative grosses are well ahead of last year's record pace.

Still the hottest game in town, Toy Story 2 ruled the box office this weekend with $27.8M, according to final studio figures, in its second try with moviegoers. After just twelve days of wide release, the Disney/Pixar smash has collected a mammoth $116.8M from the hands of ticket buyers across the United States and Canada. Toy Story 2 dropped 52% from its Friday-to-Sunday Thanksgiving opening frame which is a normal decline considering the extra holiday traffic last weekend. Featuring the voices of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, the animated sequel is well-positioned to absorb lots more cash over the holiday season just like the studio's previous hits. The table below lists Disney's last four Thanksgiving weekend openers along with their five-day holiday debuts, twelve-day grosses, second weekend declines, total domestic grosses, and percentage of total gross achieved in the first twelve days.

Title 5 Day ($M) 12 Day ($M) 2nd Wknd Drop Total ($M) 12 Day % Release
Toy Story 2 80.2 116.8 52% 1999
A Bug's Life 45.7 68.7 48% 162.8 42% 1998
Flubber 35.9 50.0 58% 93.0 54% 1997
101 Dalmatians 45.1 63.7 58% 136.2 47% 1996
Toy Story 39.1 64.7 31% 191.8 34% 1995

Toy Story 2's 52% sophomore drop was not as heavy as those for 101 Dalmatians or Flubber and instead was just a bit more than the 48% decline last year's Disney/Pixar hit A Bug's Life experienced in its second session. Should Toy Story 2 perform the same way over the holiday season, it is likely to reach a terrific $250-275M in domestic ticket sales outdistancing the 1995 original's $191.8M. Meanwhile, the toon's $27.8M take stands as the fourth-biggest weekend gross in December ever after Titanic's second weekend ($35.5M), Scream 2's opening ($32.9M), and Titanic's debut ($28.6M) all of which occured in 1997.

James Bond made off with another $10.65M over the weekend bringing the tally for The World Is Not Enough to a mighty $90.4M. Off 54%, the MGM/UA franchise hit could crack the $100M mark next weekend as it aims to become the biggest adventure ever for Agent 007. After 17 days of release, the Pierce Brosnan pic is running 29% ahead of 1995's Goldeneye but 2% behind the pace of 1997's Tomorrow Never Dies. However, that last Bond installment benefited from having Christmas and New Years bolster the second and third weekend frames respectively. Although World is depreciating a little faster than the other movies in the top ten, it may still finish its domestic run with $125-135M. Overseas, the 19th outing for the superspy has detonated monster bows in the United Kingdom and Australia and continues to invade more countries each week.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest action picture End of Days performed well in its sophomore weekend grossing $9.6M and retaining its third place status. The supernatural thriller fell an understandable 53% from its Thanksgiving opening and has collected a devilish $45.8M in twelve days. Universal was responsible for 40% of the film's reported $83M budget plus a hefty sum for prints and advertising in the domestic market. End of Days could eventually see its North American gross reach the vicinity of $85-90M if it continues at its current trajectory.

Hemorrhaging a reasonable 52% from last weekend's holiday bounty, Sleepy Hollow remained in fourth with $8.9M in its third weekend. Paramount's $70M version of the Washington Irving classic tale has sliced up $74.1M to date and stands an excellent chance of breaking the $100M mark by the end of its run. When Sleepy Hollow reaches the century mark, it will be the third such blockbuster for both director Tim Burton (Batman, Batman Returns) and actress Christina Ricci (The Addams Family, Casper), but the first ever for Johnny Depp.

Denzel Washington's The Bone Collector climbed a notch to fifth with $3.2M over the weekend. The $48M Universal crime thriller has collected $58.1M to date and should finish with around $70M. With its audience disappearing faster than a Mars probe, Pokémon tumbled 67% to $2.3M in its fourth weekend. Still playing in over 3,000 theaters, Pikachu and pals averaged a horrendous $770 per location but has reached a solid $80.8M to date.

The religious satire Dogma remains a popular entry sliding 38% (the second smallest drop in the top ten) to $2.1M. With $24.4M to date, the Matt Damon-Ben Affleck starrer has grossed more than all of director Kevin Smith's previous films combined. Lions Gate hopes that award nominations at the end of the year will help keep Dogma going as the $10M film looks to reach the $35M mark.

Being John Malkovich continued to show some of the best legs around dipping just 33% to $1.4M. The Spike Jonze picture has reached $13.8M thus far while playing in less than 650 sites. Al Pacino uncovered $1.3M for his dramatic thriller The Insider which upped its cume to $23.9M putting it in the number nine spot. Rounding out the top ten was Fox's Anywhere But Here, starring Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman, also with $1.3M putting its total at $16.4M.

Zooming into 832 theaters for a special one-week charity engagement, Star Wars Episode I mustered up only $1.3M averaging $1,554 per location. Fox and participating theaters are donating all the ticket sales to local charities but the sum will be added to the mighty prequel's overall domestic gross which now stands at $429M.

A number of films debuted in limited release hoping to attract the attention of critics and Academy members in New York and Los Angeles. Sony's The End of the Affair nabbed $198,535 from seven theaters giving the Ralph Fiennes-Julianne Moore romance a fantastic average of $28,362 per site. Woody Allen's latest story Sweet and Lowdown starring Sean Penn grossed $94,686 from three gigs giving it a jazzy $31,562 average. These debut performances are near the level of last year's Shakespeare in Love which opened in eight theaters averaging $28,002 per site. Holy Smoke starring Kate Winslet puffed up $33,307 from two theaters this weekend.

Compared to projections, Toy Story 2 and The World Is Not Enough were both extremely close to my weekend forecasts of $29M and $11M respectively. End of Days was just a tad below my $10M prediction while Sleepy Hollow came in one notch above my $8M projection. However, Star Wars Episode I did not come close to my $5M forecast.

Visit the new Box Office Guru Holiday Store with over 100 gift ideas on sale for the holidays including DVDs, videos, games, music, electronics, and more.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on the opening strength of Tom Hanks' latest film The Green Mile. In last week's survey, readers were asked whether or not they would consider seeing Terminator 3 if Arnold Schwarzenegger did not return to star in it. Of 2,778 responses, the voting was fairly even with 52% saying no while 48% chose yes.

Be sure to read the NEW Weekly Rewind column which reports on the recent box office power of 30 major stars. This Wednesday's column will look back at December's top openings this decade. For a review of Toy Story 2 visit The Chief Report.

The top ten films over the weekend grossed $68.6M which was up 12% from last year when A Bug's Life topped the charts with $17.2M, and up 63% from 1997 when Flubber ruled with $11.3M.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when The Green Mile and Deuce Bigalow both debut nationwide.

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# Title Dec. 3 - 5 Nov. 26 - 28 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Dist.
1 Toy Story 2 $ 27,760,276 $ 57,388,839 -51.6 3,238 3 $ 8,573 $ 116,781,392 Buena Vista
2 The World Is Not Enough 10,650,145 23,237,746 -54.2 3,163 3 3,367 90,444,255 MGM/UA
3 End of Days 9,642,415 20,523,595 -53.0 2,599 2 3,710 45,819,590 Universal
4 Sleepy Hollow 8,868,259 18,414,444 -51.8 3,069 3 2,890 74,133,875 Paramount
5 The Bone Collector 3,197,860 5,487,535 -41.7 2,518 5 1,270 58,121,035 Universal
6 Pokémon 2,343,365 7,105,860 -67.0 3,043 4 770 80,771,180 Warner Bros.
7 Dogma 2,122,307 3,409,224 -37.7 1,292 4 1,643 24,436,761 Lions Gate
8 Being John Malkovich 1,363,626 2,044,834 -33.3 624 6 2,185 13,826,808 USA
9 The Insider 1,328,825 2,480,294 -46.4 1,483 5 896 23,927,806 Buena Vista
10 Anywhere But Here 1,319,257 2,822,227 -53.3 1,626 4 811 16,431,112 Fox
11 Star Wars Episode I 1,292,968 832 29 1,554 429,002,763 Fox
12 The Sixth Sense 966,524 1,542,524 -37.3 1,034 18 935 273,549,908 Buena Vista
13 Flawless 925,013 1,590,155 -41.8 478 2 1,935 3,354,016 MGM/UA
14 American Beauty 780,219 1,170,667 -33.4 694 12 1,124 67,589,142 DreamWorks
15 The Best Man 585,095 1,201,750 -51.3 511 7 1,145 32,129,920 Universal
16 The Bachelor 566,103 1,138,217 -50.3 1,044 5 542 20,628,000 New Line
17 Double Jeopardy 538,007 1,008,383 -46.6 708 11 760 113,035,348 Paramount
18 The Messenger 524,386 1,201,493 -56.4 977 4 537 13,645,597 Sony
19 Music of the Heart 418,925 780,118 -46.3 858 6 488 14,050,608 Miramax
20 The House on Haunted Hill 392,421 710,128 -44.7 651 6 603 39,212,033 Warner Bros.
Top 5 $ 60,118,955 $ 126,670,484 -52.5
Top 10 68,596,335 142,914,598 -52.0
Top 20 75,585,996 153,759,265 -50.8

Last Updated : December 6 at 8:00PM EST

Written by Gitesh Pandya