Forecast: Biding Time Until... You Know
by Brandon Gray
May 7, 1999
Forget about the curse of The Mummy. What about the Curse of Universal Pictures? Meet Joe Black, Babe: Pig in the City, Psycho '98, Virus, Ed TV, et cetera ad nauseum. Now that's scary.
Much like biblical times, a flood of red ink has engulfed the studio, drowning many an indulgent executive.*
How do they throw themselves a line? Do what they always do: rest on their laurels and remake a classic. In this case, Universal raided its own horror library to remake 1932's The Mummy. Of course, the 1999 version has to be "bigger and better" so they threw in tons more visual effects and more than 30 minutes running time to boot. The marketing campaign invokes recent hits though. The trailer makes it look like Bram Stoker's Dracula in Egypt, while the TV commercials try to make you think Indiana Jones. Opening at a whopping 3,210 theaters, this horror/adventure combo should prove to be potent at the box office (especially before the release of…you know). However, with a production/marketing cost of around $110 million, profit will elude the studio for quite some time.
Meanwhile, Election expands to 827 theaters this weekend. Paramount has had one hell of a time trying to figure out what to do with it. After all, this picture looks like it's geared towards teenagers with its high school setting and mostly young cast. Yet it has an R rating limiting their access to it. Having seen it, I can confirm that it is really a movie for adults. Then again, adults aren't going to be interested because it looks like a movie for the kids. This is the same quandary that Go faced, and it tanked. Notice how, in the commercials, Paramount really doesn't feature any dialogue from the movie, and how they feebly emphasize "adult" with the critic quotes.
It's now just a handful of days until 20th Century Fox finally releases the picture we've all been anticipating for such a long time. When The Trailer came out late last year, I was really jazzed. Then the second Trailer came out and got me even more excited. I can't wait to see this picture. I don't think I need to say it, but I'm obviously talking about A Midsummer Night's Dream. It would have been neat though if it were actually coming out mid-summer rather than late spring.
For the specific predictions, click on the Forecast.
* Note to Universal: I'm here for you. If you want to get out of this slump, contact me. We'll work something out.