STUDIO SPOTLIGHT Without Saving Private Ryan, 1999 was destined to be a smaller year for DreamWorks SKG. The new studio released just six films and enjoyed decent sales with most of them. For the year, DreamWorks brought in $324M which represented a 31% decline from 1998. The Haunting was its biggest grosser to date but American Beauty was the real star of the show.
The year began with impressive sales for the 1998 holdover The Prince of Egypt which collected $35M of its $101M domestic cume in 1999. In Dreams failed in January with just $11.9M but Sandra Bullock hit number one for two weeks with Forces of Nature which grossed a solid $52.9M. The Love Letter was returned to sender with only $8.3M but The Haunting surged to the top with a massive $33.4M debut in July. The Jan de Bont thriller eroded quickly but still managed to scare up $91.2M stateside.
In September, DreamWorks began a carefully calculated rollout of American Beauty starring Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening. The $15M picture pleased both critics and moviegoers alike and posted sturdy business week after week reaching a $70M gross by New Year's Day. Now positioned as a leading contender for Golden Globe and Academy Award honors, American Beauty could enjoy a second wind in 2000 that would lift its cume even higher.
For the holidays, DreamWorks offered Galaxy Quest which has been attracting moderate sales. For the new year, the studio is betting that movie fans will flock to see the animated adventure The Road to El Dorado and the May release Gladiators.