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Carl's Topic of the Day

Mon., May 8, 2000

Box office reports for the weekend of May 5-7, 2000:

It's no surprise that the film Gladiator opened big, but unfortunately for me (and Dreamworks and Universal), it just wasn't released on enough screens! I figured that with how many screens it was opening up on here in Utah, that it was going to be released on about 4000 screens nationwide, while it only ended up opening on just over 3000 screens. Recent action films like U-571 and Rules of Engagement also opened on about 3000 screens, but I didn't recall those films being shown on 2, 3, or even 4 screens at the different movie chains like Gladiator was. This led me to believe that Gladiator was going to open on more. I estimated that it would open up to about a $40 million weekend gross. It still did grab the top spot with about $32.7 million, averaging $11,130 per screen. However, considering that Air Force One was one of the highest grossing R-rated films on opening weekend with about $37 million, Gladiator did very well. Course, I thought this latest from Ridley Scott was a much better film than Air Force One, so I personally hoped it would do better. However, with all the good reviews and buzz this movie is bringing, expect it to end up doing from $130 to $160 million domestically.

The next highest this past weekend was U-571 with $7.6 million, then Frequency with $6.5 million. The total grosses for these two films to date has risen to $49.4 and $17.9 million, respectively.

Another new release this weekend, I Dreamed of Africa, did not fare so well at the box office. This first film from Oscar winner Kim Basinger since her role in L. A. Confidential opened with a mere $2.5 million. This obviously doesn't bode well for Basinger. It does help support the theory that Supporting Actress Oscar winners do not make good leads in feature films. Hopefully Mrs. Basinger will take the hint like Gwyneth Paltrow has in continuing to play supporting roles instead of leads, if she wants to continue making films in Hollywood.

-Carl Sticht

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