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…

American Made Box Office Prediction

Tom Cruise’s box office fortunes have taken a turn for the worse recently with two flops in less than a year – Jack Reacher: Never Go Back and this summer’s The Mummy. The star will attempt to turn that around next weekend with American Made.

The true life crime pic reunites Cruise with his Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman and finds him playing Barry Seal, pilot turned drug smuggler for the Medellin cartel in the 1980s. Costars include Sarah Wright, Domhnall Gleeson, and Jesse Plemons. Unlike his two previous pictures, Made is receiving positive reviews with a current 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

That positive word-of-mouth might help, but I could also see Made opening somewhat lightly with hopes of smallish declines in subsequent weekends. Unlike most of Cruise’s recent work, this isn’t an action or sci-fi project that audiences have become accustomed to seeing him in during recent years. Its box office potential should rely solely on his drawing power (which has waned) and the approving critical notices.

I’ll estimate that American Made generates a mid teens debut.

American Made opening weekend prediction: $15.5 million

For my Flatliners prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/09/21/flatliners-box-office-prediction/

Box Office Predictions: June 30-July 2

It’s a busy weekend ahead as Despicable Me 3 looks to dominate the box office as the Will Ferrell comedy The House and critically acclaimed musical comedy crime thriller Baby Driver are out as well. There’s also a significant theater expansion for Sofia Coppola’s Civil War dramatic thriller The Beguiled. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on all four here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/21/despicable-me-3-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/21/the-house-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/21/baby-driver-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/26/the-beguiled-box-office-prediction/

As I see it, Illumination Entertainment’s Despicable threequel will not reach the heights of its spin-off predecessor Minions, which opened to $115M two summers ago. I’m looking at a return in the high 80s.

The House appears primed for a second place debut (barely) now that Transformers: The Last Knight didn’t fare so well (more on that below). I have a strange suspicion that it could under perform, but it’s got Will Ferrell and is the only real straight up comedy out there so I’m going late teens.

Baby Driver (which rolls out early on Wednesday) could absolutely be a wild card with some breakout potential. It’s got great buzz among the cinephile community, but I’m not sure how much that will translate to robust earnings out of the gate. I have it slated for sixth.

The Beguiled had a terrific limited debut this past weekend and its 550 screen count has me estimating a $3.8M gross.

Holdover action should see a precipitous drop for Transformers with Wonder Woman likely having a smaller decline than Cars 3 considering the animated competition. The Last Knight could even be in danger of slipping to fourth or fifth if holds for the other two aren’t quite as pronounced as my prognoses.

And with that, let’s do a top 6 estimates:

1. Despicable Me 3

Predicted Gross: $88.7 million

2. Transformers: The Last Knight

Predicted Gross: $17.4 million (representing a drop of 61%)

3. Wonder Woman

Predicted Gross: $14.5 million (representing a drop of 42%)

4. The House

Predicted Gross: $13.8 million

5. Cars 3 

Predicted Gross: $12.1 million (representing a drop of 49%)

6. Baby Driver

Predicted Gross: $10.9 million (Friday to Sunday estimate), $15.8 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

Box Office Results (June 23-25)

Transformers: The Last Knight, the fifth in the decade long franchise, posted the worst stateside numbers for the series thus far. The critically panned pic earned $44.6 million over the traditional Friday to Sunday weekend and $68.4 million since its Wednesday debut. That’s well below my respective estimates of $57.8M and $81.5M. The previous Transformers low belonged to the 2007 original, which made $70 million for its start. Lucky for Paramount, these flicks still are doing solid business overseas.

There was a photo finish for second place as Wonder Woman made $24.9 million for the runner-up spot. That’s a bit below my $27.6M projection and the DC title has banked $318 million. Cars 3 went from first to third at $24 million and I forecasted more with $30M. The Pixar sequel stands at $98 million.

Shark tale 47 Meters Down held up stronger in its sophomore weekend than I figured. Its $7 million was good for fourth place and I incorrectly had it outside my projected top 5.

The Mummy was fifth with $6 million, under my $7.4M estimate for a $68 million so far. At this point, it looks assured the Tom Cruise pic will not reach $100M domestically and probably earn around $80M.

Finally, Tupac biopic All Eyez on Me had a massive drop in weekend #2, falling to sixth with $5.8 million (I was higher with $8.4M). That’s a 78% plummet and it’s earned $38 million total.

And that does it for now, folks! I’ll be back with next week’s predictions when Spider-Man: Homecoming swings into multiplexes.

Box Office Predictions: June 23-25

There’s only one new wide release offering this week and that would be Transformers: The Last Knight, which is easily primed to debut at #1. You can read my detailed prediction post on it here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/14/transformers-the-last-knight-box-office-prediction/

My prediction for it gives it the lowest traditional Friday to Sunday opening for the franchise yet. One reason is simple: Knight is out Wednesday so its extra two days will eat into the traditional weekend frame. The second reason is that I suspect this could be a series that’s losing steam. Still – the franchise is likely to impress overseas.

As for holdovers, Cars 3 looks to drop in the mid 40s in its sophomore weekend while Wonder Woman should continue its impressive holds in third place. The Tupac biopic All Eyez on Me is highly likely to experience a severe drop in its second weekend as even its first weekend gross was front loaded. The Mummy should round out the top five.

And with that, my top 5 estimates for the weekend ahead:

1. Transformers: The Last Knight

Predicted Gross: $57.8 million (Friday to Sunday), $81.5 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

2. Cars 3 

Predicted Gross: $30 million (representing a drop of 44%)

3. Wonder Woman

Predicted Gross: $27.6 million (representing a drop of 33%)

4. All Eyez on Me

Predicted Gross: $8.4 million (representing a drop of 68%)

5. The Mummy

Predicted Gross: $7.4 million (representing a drop of 49%)

Box Office Results (June 16-18) 

As expected, Pixar continued its streak of #1 hits with Cars 3 opening to $53.6 million, a bit under my $57.8M prediction. While this is a decent showing, it is the lowest of the franchise and the smallest summertime opening for the studio since 2007’s Ratatouille. With stronger reviews than its predecessor, it looks to have a rather solid hold next weekend before Despicable Me 3 hits screens the following weekend.

Wonder Woman continues to astound as it dipped just 29% in its third weekend to $41.2 million for second, outshining my $32.6M estimate. The DC juggernaut has taken in $275 million.

The Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me proved critic proof as audiences flocked to it. It made $26.4 million for third (topping my $22.4M prediction). As mentioned, it will probably suffer a precipitous fall in its second weekend.

The Mummy fell to fourth place with $14.5 million (a bit ahead of my $13.2M forecast) for a weak total of $57 million.

Shark thriller 47 Meters Down performed at the higher end of expectations with a $11.2 million debut, easily topping my $6.1M projection. Considering it was originally slated for just a VOD premiere last summer, this is a pleasing opening for Entertainment Studios.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales was sixth and I incorrectly had it outside of that. The fifth entry in the Disney series made $8.9 million to bring its tally to $150 million.

The disappointment of the weekend was unquestionably Rough Night, the Scarlett Johansson comedy that couldn’t overcome middling reviews and non-existent buzz. It generated just $8 million (well below my $15.1M estimate) for seventh place. This marks the star’s second under performer this year after March’s Ghost in the Shell. 

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: June 16-18

This should be one interesting weekend at the box office as four new titles make their debut: Pixar sequel Cars 3, Scarlett Johansson bachelorette comedy Rough Night, Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me, and shark attack thriller 47 Meters Down. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/07/cars-3-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/08/rough-night-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/09/all-eyez-on-me-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/09/47-meters-down-box-office-prediction/

As I see it, Cars 3 should easily take its place atop the charts (as pretty much all Pixar features do). However, my estimate for it puts it below both of its predecessors.

Wonder Woman displayed a remarkable hold in its sophomore frame (more on that below) and should hold the #2 spot over the influx of newbies.

If there’s one picture with breakout potential, it’s All Eyez on Me. Just two summers ago, we saw Straight Outta Compton greatly exceed all expectations when it grossed over $60 million out of the gate. Eyez doesn’t seem to have that kind of buzz going for it, but I’m predicting a sturdy third place showing.

That puts Rough Night in fourth with a rather ho-hum debut. It seems to be sliding down considerably from its original $25 million projections.

The Mummy stumbled in its premiere (more on that below as well) and I foresee a hefty dip in weekend #2 for fifth place.

Maybe it’s not wise to bet against audience love for sharks (The Shallows proved that last summer), but I’ve got 47 Meters Down earning the least among the fresh quartet for a sixth place showing.

And with that, my top 6 projections for the bustling weekend ahead:

1. Cars 3

Predicted Gross: $57.8 million

2. Wonder Woman

Predicted Gross: $32.6 million (representing a drop of 44%)

3. All Eyez on Me

Predicted Gross: $24.4 million

4. Rough Night

Predicted Gross: $15.1 million

5. The Mummy

Predicted Gross: $13.2 million (representing a drop of 58%)

6. 47 Meters Down

Predicted Gross: $6.1 million

Box Office Results (June 9-11)

As mentioned, Wonder Woman continued its terrific run by dropping only 43% (a noteworthy hold for its genre) to $58.5 million. This topped my $49.5M projection and brought its ten-day total to $206 million. The superhero flick stands a decent shot at overtaking Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as the season’s hottest ticket.

Tom Cruise’s The Mummy was hindered by poor reviews and word of mouth with a second place opening at $31.6 million (a bit under my $34.7M forecast). While it’s doing better overseas, this will undoubtedly be a major disappointment stateside.

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie was third in its sophomore frame with $12.1 million, under my $14.1M projection for a so-so overall gross of $44M.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales was fourth with $10.7 million (I said $10.2M) to bring its tally to $135M.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was fifth and I incorrectly had it outside the top five. It made $6.3 million and has earned $366M total.

That’s because critically acclaimed horror pic It Comes at Night had a soft showing with just $5.9 million in sixth (I said $9.5M). While reviews were strong, audience reaction has been negative and look for this to fade very quickly.

Finally, the combo of military themes and dogs gave Megan Leavey an 8th place debut with $3.7 million (I said $3.3M).

And that’s all for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: June 9-11

Tom Cruise will attempt to take on the bonanza that is Wonder Woman this weekend and it will probably come up short. Universal monster pic The Mummy opens wide along with criticality lauded horror flick It Comes at Night and military themed biopic Megan Leavey. You can read my detailed prediction posts on the newbies here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/01/the-mummy-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/02/it-comes-at-night-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/05/megan-leavey-box-office-prediction/

Mr. Cruise looks headed for a second place showing as I foresee Wonder Woman falling just a bit over 50%. There is a chance that Mummy over performs and gets around $50 million, but I’m not seeing it right now.

Captain Underpants should be in third while the four spot could be a battle between Pirates of the Caribbean in its third frame and It Comes at Night. The latter also has a chance to exceed my estimate, but I’ve got under double digits.

As for Megan Leavey, I’m anticipating a muted premiere at $3.3 million, which would put it in 8th place.

And with that, my top 5 estimates for the weekend:

1. Wonder Woman

Predicted Gross: $49.5 million (representing a drop of 52%)

2. The Mummy

Predicted Gross: $34.7 million

3. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

Predicted Gross: $14.1 million (representing a drop of 41%)

4. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Predicted Gross: $10.2 million (representing a drop of 54%)

5. It Comes at Night

Predicted Gross: $9.5 million

Box Office Results (June 24)

DC had a critical hit and now they have a huge box office smash as Wonder Woman lassoed $103.2 million, topping my $98.3M projection. It set the all-time opening record for a female directed motion picture. The road ahead looks bright with very positive word of mouth.

Captain Underpants was second and came in on the lower end of expectations with $23.8 million, under my $27.4M estimate. The Dreamworks animated tale will hope for smallish drops in the weekends ahead, but there’s competition coming with Cars 3 and Despicable Me 3 this month.

Pirates of the Caribbean dropped to third with $22 million, in line with my $21.6M prediction for a two-week total of $115M.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was fourth with $9.8 million (I said $10M) for $355M overall.

Baywatch held up a bit better than I figured in weekend #2, placing fifth with $8.7 million compared to my $7.5M forecast. It’s earned $41M.

That does it for now, folks! Until next time…

It Comes at Night Box Office Prediction

A24 Studios will try and scare up some business next weekend with the release of psychological horror thriller It Comes at Night. From director Trey Edward Shults, it stars Joel Edgerton, Carmen Ejogo, and Christopher Abbott. Originally scheduled to open in August, it was pushed up after receiving some critical acclaim on the film festival circuit (it’s at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes right now).

Horror flicks are notoriously tough to predict and it’s a genre where reviews don’t matter much. We have seen lauded titles such as You’re Next fail to break through with mainstream audiences and that could hold true here. On the other hand, Get Out from just this year is one of the best reviewed genre titles in recent memory and it made a killing. That said, Get Out seemed to have a lot more buzz going for it.

There’s also the matter of The Mummy opening against it and it could compete for some of the same crowd. I’ll predict It Comes at Night opens just under double digits as it hopes to build upon solid word of mouth or achieve cult status afterwards.

It Comes at Night opening weekend prediction: $9.5 million

For my The Mummy prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/01/the-mummy-box-office-prediction/

For my Megan Leavey prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/05/megan-leavey-box-office-prediction/