by Brandon Gray
August 13, 1999
Bowfinger's the big thing this weekend. It features a scene of Eddie Murphy running across a freeway. Coincidentally, Holy Man also featured Murphy crossing a freeway. That picture was a disaster, grossing just $12.1 million last October. The big difference though is that Bowfinger actually has laughs in its ad campaign. Steve Martin hasn't had a hit this decade outside of the Father of the Bride remakes, but that's more due to his pictures having generally been the sort he's skewering in Bowfinger rather than people tiring of him. Universal has done well specifically promoting the first time pairing of the two great comedians, and I think it will pay off by breaking the August opening record just set last weekend.
The Sixth Sense is enjoying some strong word-of-mouth and as a result should see only a small decline. Runaway Bride took a significant hit last weekend, but should start to level out. The same can't be said for The Blair Witch Project. The backlash is so intense that it will likely have the largest drop-off of the top ten.
Detroit Rock City may suffer from its target teen audience not relating to its 70's setting as was the case with Dick. An R rating won't help either, especially since the ad campaign features no major laughs like American Pie did. It is now spoofing Blair Witch's campaign, yet it's just not funny in light of numerous other spoofs. Still, Kiss fans should help it to earn a modest amount.
In a bit of odd scheduling, the long delayed Brokedown Palace finally sees the light of day on the very same weekend that the similar Return to Paradise tanked last year. That picture opened with $2.5 million from 965 theaters en route to an $8.3 million total. Palace is opening at 1,740 theaters, but still, I don't see it making much more money. Obviously, downers tend not to make much money this time of year. The picture will also suffer from poor reviews and a lack of star power. Claire Danes may still be a teen idol, but she is no box office draw as all of her pictures other than Romeo and Juliet have bombed.
Editor's Note: Articles published before 2001 were assigned and reported as box office briefings, not a full evaluation or analysis.