STUDIO SPOTLIGHT Another year, another box office market share crown for Buena Vista - but it wasn't as easy this time. The Mouse House faced a late-year challenge from Universal which came within $12M of tying its 2000 gross of $1.1 billion. Although Buena Vista led the industry in market share for the sixth time in the last seven years, its tally was off 12% from last year when The Sixth Sense, Toy Story 2, and Tarzan were released. As usual, Disney animation and Jerry Bruckheimer supplied the most popular titles as the company's top three films were Dinosaur ($137.8M), Remember the Titans ($115M), and Gone in 60 Seconds ($101.6M). While Titans was relatively low cost, the other two were very expensive to produce and promote. Luckily, healthy overseas grosses and strong video sales should help put them in the black.
Y2K started off with a bang with the New Year's Day release of Fantasia 2000 in 54 Imax theaters. Its four-month run earned nearly $50M while a summer release with standard 35mm prints was mostly overlooked. Buena Vista kept pumping in movies all spring with the children's hit The Tigger Movie and the comedies High Fidelity and Keeping the Faith. Mission to Mars opened at number one and went on to gross $60.9M, but carried an astronomical pricetag. In the summer, BV released Shanghai Noon, The Kid, and Coyote Ugly which all brought in solid grosses, but again were not cheap movies. The Thanksgiving pair Unbreakable and 102 Dalmatians performed a bit under expectations, but should still gross a combined $160M domestically. Finally, a good holiday run by The Emperor's New Groove kept the distributor ahead of the pack in the final weeks.
Buena Vista eked out a slim victory in market share for the year, but it did so thanks to more releases, more marketing dollars, and bigger production budgets. And for the first time in four years, the market share leader failed to have a single film cross $150M. Still with upcoming 2001 releases like Jerry Bruckheimer's Pearl Harbor and the animated feature Atlantis, Buena Vista is not looking to give up its crown anytime soon.