Summer 1999: The Top 10 Hits and More

My recap of the summer seasons from 30, 20, and 10 years ago continues with 1999. It was a banner year for film in general with many acclaimed features hitting theaters at the turn of the century.

If you missed my previous post recounting 1989, you can find it here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/07/10/summer-1989-the-top-10-hits-and-more/

As with other look backs, I’ll give the top 10 highest earners along with other notable pics and some flops. Interestingly, the list begins at #10 with probably the most high profile misfire:

10. Wild Wild West

Domestic Gross: $113 million

The July 4th holiday weekend had literally become reserved space for Will Smith. Independence Day in 1996 and Men in Black the following year both came out in that frame and ended up as their summer’s biggest blockbusters. This update of a 1960s TV series cast the Fresh Prince with Kevin Kline and reunited him with MIB director Barry Sonnenfeld. Critics and audiences weren’t impressed.

9. Notting Hill

Domestic Gross: $116 million

Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant were a rom com match in heaven with this well reviewed pic from the writer of Four Weddings and a Funeral. Our lead actress isn’t finished yet…

8. The Blair Witch Project

Domestic Gross: $140 million

Truly a phenomenon upon release, this handheld camera indie supernatural horror tale was made for a reported $60,000. Many audience members thought it was a real documentary and it scared up nearly $250 million worldwide and spawned two lesser regarded follow-ups.

7. Runaway Bride

Domestic Gross: $152 million

I told you we weren’t done with Julia Roberts. This rom com reunited her with her Pretty Woman director Garry Marshall and costar Richard Gere. It might not have captured the acclaim of that flick, but it made plenty of cash.

6. The Mummy

Domestic Gross: $155 million

Loosely updating the 1932 classic, The Mummy managed to turn Brendan Fraser into a temporary action star. Two sequels followed and a spin-off (The Scorpion King) that turned Dwayne Johnson into an action hero.

5. Big Daddy

Domestic Gross: $163 million

20 summers ago marked the height of Adam Sandler’s box office potency. Big Daddy remains his biggest live action grosser of all time.

4. Tarzan

Domestic Gross: $171 million

Disney was still knocking traditional animated hits out summer after summer. Tarzan managed to nab Phil Collins an Oscar for a song contribution.

3. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

Domestic Gross: $206 million

The original Powers came out two summers prior. While it performed decently in theaters, it became a massive hit with its home video release. Due to that, this sequel made more in its opening weekend than part 1 achieved in its entire theatrical run. A third edition arrived in 2002.

2. The Sixth Sense

Domestic Gross: $293 million

An unexpected smash, this is the movie that introduced the world to M. Night Shyamalan and the line “I see dead people”. Bruce Willis didn’t get an Oscar nod, but the picture itself did. So too did Shyamalan’s direction, screenplay, and the supporting performances of Haley Joel Osment and Toni Collette.

1. Star Wars: Episode 1The Phantom Menace

Domestic Gross: $431 million

Its reputation certainly hasn’t grown through the years, but George Lucas’s return to the cherished franchise after 16 years easily ruled the summer. We’re still haunted by Jar Jar two decades later.

And now more some other notable titles from the ‘99 season:

American Pie

Domestic Gross: $102 million

The raunchy teen comedy was a surprise smash that introduced us to a new group of young actors and spawned three theatrical sequels and four direct to DVD sequels.

The Haunting

Domestic Gross: $91 million

Jan de Bont followed up mega hits Speed and Twister with this critically unappreciated remake of The Haunting of Hill House. It didn’t reach the heights of those blockbusters, but came close to the century mark domestically.

Deep Blue Sea

Domestic Gross: $73 million

Renny Harlin’s tale involving sharks that could potentially cure Alzheimer’s (yes it’s absurd), Sea is best known for a killer death scene involving Samuel L. Jackson.

The Thomas Crown Affair

Domestic Gross: $69 million

Arriving smack dab in the middle of his Bond run, this remake of Steve McQueen’s heist film was a solid midsize performer.

Bowfinger

Domestic Gross: $66 million

The box office grosses were decent, but Bowfinger gave us a satisfying pairing of two comedic legends in Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin.

Eyes Wide Shut

Domestic Gross: $55 million

The swan song of Stanley Kubrick (who died shortly before release), this dreamlike sexual drama with then married Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman polarized audiences and critics.

South ParkBigger, Longer and Uncut

Domestic Gross: $52 million

The landmark Comedy Central show from Trey Parker and Matt Stone got the big screen treatment and translated well to the multiplex, even nabbing an Oscar nod for Best Original Song (“Blame Canada”).

The Iron Giant

Domestic Gross: $23 million

A commercial failure at the time, this animated pic marked the debut of Brad Bird who went onto helm Pixar classics. Its reputation has grown significantly in time.

Now… let’s recount some flops:

Mickey Blue Eyes

Domestic Gross: $33 million

Hugh Grant had a $100 million plus earner with Notting Hill, but this mob themed comedy was not a hit.

Mystery Men

Domestic Gross: $29 million

Ben Stiller had the previous summer’s largest comedy with There’s Something About Mary. This failed superhero spoof didn’t even make half its budget back stateside.

The Astronaut’s Wife

Domestic Gross: $10 million

This Johnny Depp sci fi thriller is not a title discussed often in his filmography or Charlize Theron’s. There’s a reason.

Dudley DoRight

Domestic Gross: $9 million

The Mummy provided Brendan Fraser with a franchise. This cartoon remake couldn’t hit double digits.

And that wraps my recap! Look for 2009 on the blog shortly…

My Top Ten Prince Albums

Well this wasn’t easy! Prince had nearly 40 studio albums in a career that didn’t even span 40 years. Pretty much every release he put out has at least three (in most cases more) genuinely great tracks.

Yet for those looking for the starter kit on his cream of the crop works, here’s my personal top 10 Prince Albums of All Time:

10. Diamonds and Pearls (1991)

Key Tracks: “Diamonds and Pearls”, “Cream”, “Gett Off”, “Money Don’t Matter 2Nite”, “Strollin”

9. Lovesexy (1988)

Key Tracks: “Anna Stesia”, “Alphabet St”, “Glam Slam”, “When 2R In Love”, “I Wish U In Heaven”

8. Around the World in a Day (1985)

Key Tracks: “Raspberry Beret”, “Pop Life”, “Paisley Park”, “America”, “Condition of the Heart”, “The Ladder”

7. The Gold Experience (1995)

Key Tracks: “Dolphin”, “Gold”, “(Eye) Hate U”, “P. Control”, “Endorphinmachine”, “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World”

6. Dirty Mind (1980)

Key Tracks: “When You Were Mine”, “Uptown”, “Dirty Mind”, “Head”, “Partyup”, “Gotta Broken Heart Again”

5. The Symbol Album (1992)

Key Tracks: “Seven”, “My Name is Prince”, “Sexy MF”, “The Morning Papers”, “The Max”, “Damn U”, “The Continental”, “Love 2 the 9’s”

4. Parade (1986)

Key Tracks: “Kiss”, “Sometimes It Snows in April”, “Mountains”, “Anotherloverholenyohead”, “Girls and Boys”, “New Position”, “Under the Cherry Moon”

3. 1999 (1982)

Key Tracks: “1999”, “Little Red Corvette”, “Delirious”, “DMSR”, “Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)”, “Let’s Pretend We’re Married”, “Free”, “Lady Cab Driver”, “International Lover”

2. Purple Rain (1984)

Key Tracks: All of them… “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Take Me With U”, “The Beautiful Ones”, “Computer Blue”, “Darling Nikki”, “When Doves Cry”, “I Would Die 4 U”, “Baby, I’m a Star”, “Purple Rain”

1. “Sign o’ The Times”

Key Tracks: “Sign o’ the Times”, “Housequake”, “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker”, “U Got the Look”, “Forever in My Life”, “Adore”, “Hot Thing”, “Strange Relationship”, “The Cross”, “If I Was Your Girlfriend”, “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man”, “Starfish and Coffee”, “Slow Love”

 

My Top 100 Prince Songs of All Time: Nos. 20-11

We gather here today for numbers 20-11 of my personal Top 100 Prince Songs ever, with the Top Ten arriving tomorrow:

20. “Computer Blue” from Purple Rain (1984)

19. “Pop Life” from Around the World In a Day (1985)

18. “Gett Off” from Diamonds and Pearls (1991)

17. “1999” from 1999 (1982)

16. “Housequake” from Sign O The Times (1987)

15. “Raspberry Beret” from Around the World In a Day (1985)

14. “U Got the Look” from Sign O The Times (1987)

13. “Sometimes It Snows in April” from Parade (1986)

12. “Darling Nikki” from Purple Rain (1984)

11. “Baby, I’m A Star” from Purple Rain (1984)

Top ten tomorrow!