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Tues., May 23, 2000

Box Office Report for May 19-21

Everyone knows how much of a fan I am of Ridley Scott's epic hit Gladiator by now (at least I hope so). Which means that this past weekend, I've been fretting the inevitable. A collosal Disney film was coming head to head with the best movie of the year. One was rated PG, the other R. One was in it's first week in release, the other was in it's third. I pretty much knew what was going to happen, but obviously I didn't want it to.

So I'm a bit sad to report that Gladiator was finally pushed out of the top spot by Dinosaur. The numbers though at the box office still showed a good sign, however.

Dinosaur opened with $38.8 million, which is barely a stronger opening than Gladiator was three weekends ago. Although there is no question that Dinosaur will pay for itself, the real question lies with knowing that the new art house that produced this kiddie flick at Disney cost around $350 million. This makes me wonder if it really was worth the investment. There is, after all, so many movies you can produce in this style before audiences don't care. But Disney has nothing to really worry about in the long run. It's not like they're anywhere close to being bankrupt.

On a different note, with Gladiator coming in second this weekend with $19.7 million, it brings its net gross to $103.4 million. Seeing as how the movie cost only $103 million to make and the fact that it is still showing very strong numbers at the multiplexes, I have something to be very proud of. Gladiator will end up being one of the definite rulers of the summer of 2000, much like The Matrix was last year. Plus fans like me are going back to see Gladiator a number of times, which obviously increases the film's staying power. And recently, I haven't been back to see any other movies more than once. The last movie that I went back to extra times was the last James Bond flick, The World is Not Enough.

Tom Green's new film Road Trip had a respectful opening this past weekend with $15.4 million. With the budget for this film being $15.6 million, Dreamworks has yet another hit on its hands. The fact that any movie can pay for itself opening weekend shows that it was a good idea and great investment. I don't care about the movie itself, per se, however, I look at Dreamworks as the example Hollywood needs to demonstrate what kinds of movies should be released with all the concern of having overinflated budgets and overpaid actors starring in flops like Battlefield Earth and whatnot.

Finally, the last new release for this past weekend was Woody Allen's film Small Time Crooks. This is Allen's largest opening in 20 years, which is good for the prolific writer/actor/director. It opened on only 865 screens with $3.8 million, giving it a $4,393 per screen average. These numbers are great for Allen, which were definitely helped by it's family-friendly PG rating. This may not seem like a family film, but at least older moviegoers don't have to worry about much that is offensive.

Tomorrow, Mission: Impossible 2 will open, and this will definitely shake things up at the box office. Watch for this new Tom Cruise movie to open big (probably bigger than Dinosaur), and watch for a review for this film on Thursday.

-Carl Sticht

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