STUDIO SPOTLIGHT 1998 marked the first full year of distribution for Dreamworks SKG and it was one to remember. Spielberg and pals grossed a hefty amount while only releasing 5 pictures all year! Of course about half of its tally was from Saving Private Ryan, but the rookie studio found success in animation as well. Plus, DreamWorks saw its co-ventures with other studios pay off with films like Ryan and Deep Impact (both with Paramount) and Small Soldiers (with Universal).
The year began with decent holdover sales from the December titles Mouse Hunt and Amistad as well as some respectable business from the spring kidpic Paulie ($27M). July brought Small Soldiers which nabbed $55.1M which was good but probably less than what was anticipated. Saving Private Ryan put DreamWorks on the map with a $30.6M debut that led to four straight weeks at number one (second only to Titanic's 13 week streak in 1998) and delivered $190.7M stateside plus over $225M offshore. The epic war film is now the front-runner for Oscar glory.
DreamWorks then boldly jumped into the animation business with two fourth quarter titles. Antz bowed in October setting a new monthly opening record and has grossed over $89M. The Biblical feature The Prince of Egypt debuted to strong sales over the holiday season and should eventually surpass the gross of Antz to give the studio two successful entries into the competitive, yet lucrative, field of feature animation.