Weekend Box Office

by Brandon Gray
August 17, 1999

The Sixth Sense continued its extraordinary run. It grossed $25.8 million, down just 3% from last weekend after a slight expansion. Who'd have ever thought a Bruce Willis picture could perform like this? This is the real sleeper success of the summer. It came out of nowhere, and, unlike The Blair Witch Project, it is well liked.

Bowfinger wasn't quite the big thing, grossing a relatively modest $18.1 million from 2,706 theaters. I thought it would do a lot better, given the recent huge openings of many less appealing pictures. I mean, come on, this was the momentous team-up of Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin, and it was the only major comedy amidst all these scary movies. Hell, Murphy's last picture, Life, opened with $20.4 million, and that didn't look nearly as funny. Furthermore, given the recent expansiveness of the box office, there certainly was enough room for it. Not to mention it had a PG-13 rating and Heather Graham, hot off of the Austin Powers sequel, featuring her assets. Then again, pictures about Hollywood and movie-making tend to be tough sells. What's more, the ad campaign focused on the stars, at the expense of the story. Universal too thought the momentous team-up of Murphy and Martin would prove irresistible. The slogan "the con is on" was tailor-fitted to the stars' personae, but was unoriginal.

Brokedown Palace performed a bit better than expected as it grossed $3.9 million. Though still a bomb, that's better than the similar Return to Paradise's $2.5 million the same time last year. Most likely its edge came from its teen focus.

Detroit Rock City proved that the teen picture is not infallible. A nostalgic 70's setting combined with teen leads has proven to be box office poison, as evidenced by this picture's $2 million take from 1,802 theaters and earlier by Dick's dismal performance.

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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