Box Office Forecast

by Brandon Gray
June 11, 1999

The Spy Who Shagged Me is poised to become one of the few sequels to out gross the original. Its prospects appear to be the reverse of Mike Myers' previous catch phrase ridden franchise, Wayne's World, which grossed an excellent $121.7 million while the second grossed only $47.1 million.

The original Austin Powers was a sleeper hit, opening with a decent $9.5 million back in early May 1997. It had a fairly leggy run, garnering $53.8 million total. Normally, the ancillary markets would perform similarly, but this picture had a phenomenal afterlife. New Line carefully cultivated a franchise. They orchestrated midnight showings across the country. The promotions and people just liking the picture made it a mainstay on the video charts. It's incredible how its popularity just snowballed, especially for a picture so slight. I mean it was no Shawshank Redemption, which had a similarly amazing afterlife.

Anyway, New Line has done a smashing job of riding the coattails of the Star Wars hype. The trailers suggested that "If you see one movie this summer, see Star Wars. If you see two, see Austin Powers." This was at once a spoof of other movie ad campaigns and a respectful homage that surely endeared the picture to Star Wars fans.

New Line's rather bullish too, giving the picture the widest opening ever, 3,312 theaters, two more than previous record holder Godzilla (though it's on 1,500 fewer screens). The studio has even reportedly spent north of $40 million on marketing.

The timing is impeccable, coming right after everyone has seen Star Wars and after a long comedy drought. But, let's face it, what's really going to push this picture over the top is Mini-Me, the 1/8th clone of Dr. Evil seemingly inspired by Marlon Brando's little mutant friend from The Island of Dr. Moreau.

The Waterboy may really need some high quality H2O when the weekend's over 'cause his record comedy opening of $39.4 million could get creamed.

Meanwhile, The Phantom Menace can take comfort in winning the $300 million sprint by next Tuesday, despite relinquishing the current top spot.

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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