Weekend Box Office

by Brandon Gray
June 7, 1999

It's funny how most of the box office reports say that Instinct failed to topple Star Wars. Now, who in their right mind even considered Instinct to be a contender? All you hear is how it failed and disappointed the studio. One report even called its $10.4 million gross "meager." When $10 million or a $5,046 per theater average became "meager," I don't know. A reason for this is that the tracking polls supposedly suggested near blockbuster numbers. That shows you how reliable polls are, yet people in the biz still rely on them heavily.

The reality is that Instinct performed about as well as could possibly be expected. It wasn't the most summery of material, and, due to its adult appeal, the critical derision didn't help. As discussed earlier, the marketing campaign was weak. Plus, it starred actors who are mostly known for supporting work. No other report will tell you this, but this was, in fact, Anthony Hopkins' biggest opening as headlining star.

These reporters have also cited how overall box office was down 10% compared to the same frame last year when The Truman Show opened. What they failed to mention is that, unlike last year, this was the weekend directly after Memorial Day (which came a week later this year for some reason). This weekend is traditionally slow in comparison. Plus, when there is only one new wide release, overall box office will likely go down anyway.

The Phantom Menace's strong hold of last weekend was apparently helped greatly not only by the holiday, but by people who chose to eschew the crowds of the first weekend. The Phantom Menace fell a more down-to-earth 36% to $32.9 million. As stated earlier, this should be its last weekend on top, but after just 19 days, the total stands at a remarkable $255.8 million. This makes it the fastest picture ever to reach the $250 million mark, beating previous record holder Titanic by a whopping 17 days. As indicated earlier though, Titanic's total gross crown is in no danger, as Phantom Menace is on course to peter out at around $400 million, or roughly the same amount as Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi made if you adjust for inflation.

Notting Hill continues to perform similarly to My Best Friend's Wedding. Their opening weekends were $21.8 and $21.7 million respectively. And, now their second weekends were nearly identical with both making $15 million. What's more, Hill has accumulated $49.4 million, only $200,000 more than Wedding had at the same point in its run. However, Hill has been playing at 613 more theaters which suggests that it could burn out faster.

Perhaps the most remarkable hold of the week was by The Matrix. It fell merely 15.4% to $2.45 million.

Editor's Note: Articles published before 2001 were assigned and reported as box office briefings, not a full evaluation or analysis.

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