STUDIO SPOTLIGHT It was a much better year for MGM/UA in 1999 and the studio has one man to thank for it. Brosnan. Pierce Brosnan. His back-to-back hits The Thomas Crown Affair and The World Is Not Enough accounted for over $185M of MGM/UA's $310M in ticket sales during the year. Up 70% from 1998's dismal period, the Lion Studio had a slow first half but picked things up later on. The company only had six new wide releases so its average gross of $51M per film nearly matches number two studio Warner Bros.
Early in the year, there was little to celebrate with films like At First Sight ($22.3M), The Rage : Carrie 2 ($17.8M), and The Mod Squad ($13.3M). But MGM/UA scored with Tea With Mussolini which played in less than 300 theaters but grossed an impressive $14.3M. Shrewd scheduling pushed back the release dates of The Thomas Crown Affair to August and Stigmata to September. Both moves scored as Crown shifted away from early summer adult thrillers like The General's Daughter, and Stigmata benefited from the suspense coattails of The Sixth Sense and The Blair Witch Project. The Pierce Brosnan-Rene Russo actioner went on to gross $69M while Stigmata has reached $50M.
In November, the studio launched the 19th Bond picture The World Is Not Enough which delivered the biggest opening weekend gross in franchise and company history with a mighty $35.5M. The new adventure has failed to disappoint at the box office capturing $118M by year's end and looking to surpass Tomorrow Never Dies' $125.6M tally to become the largest 007 pic ever. Globally, World is well on its way to a $300M+ gross like Brosnan's last two installments making him the billion dollar Bond.