STUDIO SPOTLIGHT Enjoying its best year ever, New Line Cinema showed consistency by having a steady supply of strong product all year long. Finishing sixth for the year with $537M in grosses, New Line attracted more moviegoers than long-established studios like Universal and MGM/UA, plus beat out other mini-majors like Miramax and Dreamworks. While New Line's number of wide releases remained about even with last year, a number of profitable surprise hits seemed to catch the industry off guard.
New Line began the year by expanding Wag the Dog into a nationwide release and saw a solid $43M benefiting from the free publicity that the media gave it when events in Washington resembled the plot of the film. Over Presidents Day weekend, they debuted The Wedding Singer which became an instant success grossing $80.2M and holding the title of highest-grossing release of 1998 until the summer. April saw New Line's costliest picture ever, Lost in Space, finally knock Titanic from the top of the box office charts and set a new April opening record in the process. The sci-fi adventure film went on to gross $69.1M.
In August, Blade burst on the scene and cut up an impressive $70M. The following month, Rush Hour exploded with a $33M debut (a new September record) and became a smash hit taking in over $137M in ticket sales. In addition to hefty grosses, Blade and Rush Hour more importantly provided New Line with new potential franchises that will keep the cash rolling in for years to come. Pleasantville got critics talking and became the distributor's fourth number one opening of the year and has earned about $39M. Other New Line releases this year included Dark City ($14.4M), Mr. Nice Guy ($12.7M), The Player's Club ($23M), Woo ($8.1M), Gone With The Wind- reissue ($6.9M), Living Out Loud ($12.7M), and American History X ($6M).