STUDIO SPOTLIGHT Anchored by The Matrix, Warner Brothers claimed the runnerup spot at the box office for 1999 with its slate of 20 releases. The studio generated $1.042 billion in ticket sales domestically (up 38% from 1998) and saw eight of its films open at number one leading all distributors. Three pictures topped the $100M mark with a fourth, The Green Mile, aiming for the same level. A steady stream of hits allowed Warners to place a movie in the top ten each weekend of the year except for one.
The year began with a bang for Warner Bros., leveled off in the middle, and then heated up again during the holiday season. Analyze This and The Matrix both performed better than expected taking in $106.8M and $171.4M respectively. The Keanu Reeves sci-fi pic was on fire around the world with a gargantuan global gross of $456M making it the year's third biggest smash after Star Wars Episode I and The Sixth Sense. In addition, The Wachowski brothers' film boasted a hot soundtrack, delivered the top-selling DVD of all time, and will lead to two sequels. Meanwhile, the holiday season brought the success of Pokémon ($84M to date) along with the dramas The Green Mile and Any Given Sunday which together should eventually command $175-200M domestically.
But the summer had to be disappointing for Warners. High hopes rested on the shoulders of the costly event film Wild Wild West and the highly anticipated Tom Cruise-Nicole Kidman picture Eyes Wide Shut. With a reported production cost of over $150M, West just didn't please many moviegoers and ended its run with $113.8M. Eyes started well but once the curiosity factor wore off, the film plunged and finished with $55.7M. Other releases like The Iron Giant ($23.2M), Mickey Blue Eyes ($33.8M), and A Dog of Flanders ($2.1M) did little to help the situation. However, the shark thriller Deep Blue Sea did manage to munch on a healthy $73.6M.
Moderate success was found in Kevin Costner's Message in a Bottle ($52.8M), Three Kings ($60M), and The House on Haunted Hill ($40M) while failures included Clint Eastwood's True Crime ($16.6M), Chill Factor ($11.3M), Three to Tango ($10.6M), Lost and Found ($6.5M), and the animated version of The King and I ($12M). For the year 2000, Warner Bros. has the summer entry Battlefield Earth with John Travolta and the next Pokémon feature.