STUDIO SPOTLIGHT After a strong first quarter, Miramax Films fell into a slump for much of the remainder of 1999. Riding a wave of romance, the company saw strong results from the durable, Oscar-winning holdovers Shakespeare in Love and Life is Beautiful plus witnessed surprise success from a more modern love story - She's All That. But there was little to cheer for afterwards. For the year, Miramax grossed about $320M, off 19% from 1998.
With both Shakespeare in Love and Life is Beautiful expanding into more markets, Miramax shocked many in the industry by hitting number one over Superbowl weekend with the high school romantic comedy She's All That. The film was pivotal in shifting the focus of the teen movie craze from slasher flicks to comedies as it went on to gross a superb $63.4M. Meanwhile, Shakespeare took home the Oscar for Best Picture which helped the Gwenyth Paltrow blockbuster spend an amazing 15 weeks in the top ten. Shakespeare reached a domestic cume of $100M (almost all of which was earned in 1999) despite the fact that it never had a weekend gross of more than $8M. Audiences around the planet embraced the Miramax-Universal co-production which collected a towering $282M worldwide.
The rest of the year was a different story, however. Ticket buyers ignored films like Jackie Chan's Twin Dragons ($7.9M), Teaching Mrs. Tingle ($8.7M), and Outside Providence ($7.3M). Somewhat better results were seen by An Ideal Husband and In Too Deep which grossed $18.5M and $14M, respectively, despite playing in much less theaters. The end of the year brought a disappointing performance by Happy, Texas, which was acquired at Sundance for $10M, but only saw $2M in sales from the wallets of moviegoers.
Miramax has big hopes for the new year as it finally unveils the highly-anticipated sequel Scream 3 in February. But one important ingredient missing is an Oscar-calibur holdover. Shakespeare in Love, 1997's Good Will Hunting, and 1996's The English Patient all carried over into the next year delivering strong grosses. Miramax's only hope this time lies with The Cider House Rules.