STUDIO SPOTLIGHT Like in 1997, Miramax saw most of its theatrical revenue come from two titles. In 1998, the Oscar-winning Good Will Hunting and the summer hit Halloween: H20 contributed about half of the distributor's $394M in box office sales. Despite these two moneymakers, a number of promising titles still underperformed. Miramax had more wide releases with 14 films playing in over 400 locations compared to 10 in 1997.
Miramax began the year by expanding Good Will Hunting, which performed fabulously in limited release in December 1997, into nationwide release. The Matt Damon-Robin Williams drama was a regular in the top ten for months and walked off with $138.4M making it Miramax's highest-grossing film ever. Later in the year, Sliding Doors and Smoke Signals attracted solid business while playing in less than 525 theaters each and saw domestic grosses of $11.9M and $6.7M respectively.
The distributor's second best performer of the year arrived in August and proved that horror titles can ring up strong sales in the warm summer months. Halloween: H20 knifed up $55M and continued a streak of highly-profitable fright films from the distributor's Dimension unit. High hopes were pegged to the Matt Damon pic Rounders but it cashed in a modest $22.9M. The Sharon Stone drama The Mighty was ignored in the fall grossing just $2.6M.
The end of year awards season is usually when Miramax shines and in 1998 the distributor rolled out two winners that are causing a stir. Life is Beautiful from Roberto Benigni and Shakespeare in Love have performed superbly in limited release and continue to expand into new markets. Some of Miramax's other releases in 1998 included Phantoms ($5.6M), Senseless ($12.8M), Ride ($5.5M), I Got the Hook Up ($10.3M), Air Bud: Golden Receiver ($10M), Next Stop, Wonderland ($3.4M), 54 ($16.7M), Celebrity ($5M), and The Faculty ($26M to date).