×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Hollow’ bumps Klumps

'Cowboys' and 'Coyote' debuts score, but B.O. is off 19%

Sony’s “Hollow Man” couldn’t make Eddie Murphy, Clint Eastwood and Jerry Bruckheimer disappear over the weekend, but the invisible-man pic topped the weekend box office with a studio-estimated $26.8 million in its debut.

If the figure holds true, it’ll be the biggest bow of any August pic and tops in helmer Paul Verhoeven’s career. Effects-heavy thriller cost about $95 million to produce, so profitability will come down the road. Still, Sony execs called it a strong start, especially on a weekend when overall B.O. fell 19% from the extraordinary first August frame in 1999.

“We always felt that early August has been a great launching pad, and this picture is off to a great start,” Sony distribution chief Jeff Blake said.

Universal sophomore “Nutty Professor II: The Klumps” and the debuting “Space Cowboys” and “Coyote Ugly” were bunched between $17 million and $18 million. Today’s actual results will sort out the order of finish.

Warner Bros.’ “Space” has surprisingly become Eastwood’s top career opening as a director or actor as the breezy geezer comedy out-orbited most expectations by a couple of million.

“He has generated about $1.2 billion in grosses,” Warners distrib chief Dan Fellman marveled. “To have his kind of career and then have this happen is a testament to his ability to find great material.”

“Coyote,” the second Bruckheimer-produced Disney release in two months, made a respectable showing. But its 19% dip from Friday to Saturday isn’t an auspicious sign for a pic whose opening-weekend crowd was half-over and half-under 25.

“Nutty’s” decline of 58%, steepest of any top 10 pic, was worse than most B.O. observers anticipated. But U’s Nikki Rocco remained sanguine.

“I can’t say it wasn’t expected,” she said. “Do I wish it fell 20%? Of course I do. But I do think it will level off and it will do $100 million-plus.”

The “Nutty” numbers were indicative of a fatigued business limping toward Labor Day. Receipts of $125 million, as estimated by ACNielsen EDI, are in line with comparable frames in 1997 and ’98, but they fell sharply from last year. Summer is now 3% behind last year’s record pace and year-to-date grosses are up 3%.

Three months ago, the year-to-date margin was 10%.

The late-summer marketplace in 1999 was unusually diverse and potent. Early August saw a confluence of major titles such as “The Sixth Sense,” “The Blair Witch Project,” “Deep Blue Sea,” “The Thomas Crown Affair,” “Runaway Bride” and “Inspector Gadget.”

Aside from two of next week’s openers, MGM’s “Autumn in New York” and Warners’ “The Replacements,” few pics appear capable of injecting new life into the B.O.

B.O. challenges ahead

Moreover, the usual August doldrums should extend into September this year due to the Sydney Olympics.

November and December are shaping up well, but they’ll need to be quite powerful if the 2000 box office has a chance at overtaking the 1999 totals. Most B.O. watchers see year-to-year numbers flat by the end of August. A down summer would be tough to overcome as the May-August span accounts for at least 40% of annual receipts.

While not disclosing full exit-poll results on “Hollow Man,” Blake said it played evenly across the demographic quadrants. Auds were 54% under 25, 46% over. Stars Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth Shue kept gender split even — 51% male and 49% female.

“Having that mix really helped us,” he said. “It really played like a special effects film, not like horror.”

As their major-studio cousins sweated the August B.O. climate, specialized distribs found reason to smile.

Fine Line’s “Saving Grace,” an unabashed paean to pot starring Brenda Blethyn and Craig Ferguson, toked up $288,891 in 30 sites. Stellar debut screen average of $9,630 came from 12 U.S. markets. On Aug. 18, comedy will pass the dutchie to 150 runs in 30 markets.

‘Grace’ smokin’

“Our exit poll numbers were the best in Fine Line history, better than ‘Shine,’ ” said Steven Friedlander, distrib chief at the art outfit. And given the pic’s subject matter, he added, “Exhibitors must be thrilled with concession sales.”

Sony Classics’ “The Tao of Steve” also opened well, taking in $90,407, or an average of $10,045 in each of nine locations.

“Croupier” has cleared $4 million for the Shooting Gallery. Drama recorded about $240,000 in 139 venues.

Artisan’s “Chuck & Buck” added $105,000, averaging $2,386 on 44 screens. Cume is $613,000.

As it preps for a wide release of Cannes fave “Nurse Betty” in September, USA Films is nurturing three summer titles. The re-released “Blood Simple” reached $1 million after a $140,928 weekend in 66 theaters. “Alice and Martin” posted $55,419 on eight screens, and “Wonderland” managed $37,418 on nine.

More Film

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Steven Spielberg Remembers 'Friend and Early Mentor' Stanley Donen

    As news of the death of prolific director Stanley Donen spread Saturday, the industry was quick to remember the helmer of so many classic musicals. Donen directed such hits as “Singin’ in the Rain,” co-directed with and starring Gene Kelly; “Funny Face” with Audrey Hepburn; and “Charade,” with Hepburn and Cary Grant. “Stanley Donen was [...]

  • Aubrey Plaza Spirit Awards

    How to Watch the 2019 Spirit Awards Online

    The Spirit Awards are taking over television Saturday from Santa Monica, Calif., but viewers don’t need a TV to tune in. Hosted by “Parks and Recreation” star Aubrey Plaza, this year’s Spirit Awards are set to air on IFC at 2 p.m. PT and again on Feb. 24 at 9 p.m. ET. However, indie lovers [...]

  • Mandatory Credit: Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

    Oscars, After Repeated Tumbles, Take Center Stage in Hollywood

    At least the weather will be sunny for Sunday afternoon’s Oscars ceremony following one of the stormiest —  and strangest — awards seasons in memory. Expectations have been turned upside down in key categories amid a historic lack of consensus among guild and critics groups. The 91st Academy Awards will be the first in three [...]

  • Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his Night

    Box Office: 'How to Train Your Dragon 3' Speeding to Series-Best Debut With $58 Million

    Universal’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” is far and away the box office champ for Academy Awards weekend with an estimated debut of $58 million from 4,259 North American locations. Three holdovers and an expansion will make up the other top four spots, with the sophomore frame of sci-fier “Alita: Battle Angel” [...]

  • Stanley Donen

    Stanley Donen, Director of Iconic Movie Musicals, Dies at 94

    Stanley Donen, the director of such stylish and exuberant films as “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Funny Face” and “Two for the Road” and the last surviving helmer of note from Hollywood’s golden age, has died at 94. The Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips tweeted that one of his sons had confirmed the news to him. Confirmed [...]

  • '2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live

    Film Review: ‘2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live Action’

    The Academy skewed dark in its choice of live-action shorts this year, selecting four films to slit your wrists by — each one featuring child endangerment in a different form — and a fifth, about a diabetic on her death bed, that finds a glimmer of uplift at the other end of life. If that [...]

  • How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes

    How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes Sports and Showbiz in an Entertaining Mix

    Walking through the El Segundo studio where veteran sportscaster Rich Eisen tapes his daily “Rich Eisen Show,” the sheer density of sports memorabilia is overwhelming — everything from game balls to jerseys, gear, autographs and uncountable photos are crammed onto every inch of wall and desk space. But step into Eisen’s dressing room, and the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content