Daily Box Office: Mild Mild West
by Brandon Gray
July 1, 1999
Playing at 3,304 theaters, Wild Wild West managed to open with just $7.07 million on Wednesday. This means that the picture might not even match my $37.5 million weekend prediction. By comparison, Will Smith's previous July extravaganzas, Men in Black and Independence Day opened with $14.04 and $17.41 million respectively, and that was after having Tuesday night previews. The same time last year, Armageddon opened with $9.67 million and went on to make $36.1 million Friday-to-Sunday (though this was muted due to the Fourth of July falling on a Saturday).
Warner Bros. executives have given the usual spin by saying they are pleased with the opening. But, really, they're not. How could they be? This picture reportedly had a $160-180 million budget. Add in the massive marketing campaign, and the overall cost was probably around $210-230 million. So if the picture continues to perform at this rate, it will be lucky to break even in the long run.
Meanwhile, South Park grossed a strong $4.85 million from 2,128 theaters, giving it a higher per theater average than Wild Wild West. However, since it has more of a cult following it should see an above average drop on Thursday.
Editor's Note: Articles published before 2001 were assigned and reported as box office briefings, not a full evaluation or analysis.