×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Yeah, Baby! ‘Austin Powers’ Shagged Its Way to Theaters 20 Years Ago

When “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” opened May 2, 1997, Variety described it as an “odd mix of sophisticated and lowbrow humor” but was enthused about the Mike Myers-Jay Roach collaboration. The film had cost less than $20 million so it was profitable with a modest $67 million worldwide. There was no deal in place for a sequel, but New Line execs noticed the comedy was a huge hit in home video and on cable. When the studio greenlit a sequel, many rival execs were surprised: They were still defining success solely by domestic box office.

Boosted by massive marketing tie-ins, 1999’s “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” saw a spectacular domestic opening weekend of $55 million and completed its global run with $312 million. “Austin Powers in Goldmember” (2002) scored $296 million worldwide. After many years, rumors persist that a fourth edition is imminent. As Powers himself would say, “Yeah, baby!”

The nothing-is-sacred philosophy was one reason for the films’ success, but it also applied to other aspects of the trilogy — including marketing. When the second “Austin Powers” movie opened in summer 1999, movie fans were feverish about the opening of “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace,” since it had been nearly 20 years since a new “Star Wars” film had appeared. Rather than compete, the New Line team made a joke of it, opening “Spy Who Shagged Me” with a teaser trailer that included the line, “If you see one movie this summer, see ‘Star Wars.’ But if you see two movies, see ‘Austin Powers.’ ”

Myers, who created the characters, scripted all three  (with Michael McCullers also sharing credit on Nos. 2 and 3). Since then, he went on to huge success as the voice of Shrek, and has the movie “Del” upcoming. Director Roach brought his love of absurdity to the HBO based-on-fact “Recount” and “Game Change,” and more recently directed “Trumbo” and “All the Way.”

More Film

  • Vice Christian Bale Sam Rockwell Playback

    Listen: Christian Bale and Sam Rockwell on Early Acting Days and Reuniting for 'Vice'

    PLAYBACK is a Variety / iHeartRadio podcast bringing you conversations with the talents behind many of today’s hottest films. New episodes air every Thursday. Oscar-winning actors Christian Bale and Sam Rockwell first met 20 years ago on the Italy-set production of Michael Hoffman’s Shakespeare adaptation “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” With the business in their blood [...]

  • Rebecca Campbell Disney

    Disney Sets Out International Leadership Team Post-Fox Deal

    Rebecca Campbell, Diego Lerner and Uday Shankar are set to be Disney’s three key international chiefs when its deal for 21st Century Fox closes, the company announced Thursday. Campbell will run the Europe, Middle East and Africa team under the new structure, which is conditional on the Fox deal closing. She also adds Russia and [...]

  • 'Dumplin'' Review: Netflix's Sweet, Dolly Parton-Blessed

    Film Review: 'Dumplin''

    “I’m not the Dalai Lama, but I’ll try to offer up a few words of advice,” Dolly Parton chirped in her 2008 single “Better Get to Livin’,” before doling out exactly the brand of wholesome, no-nonsense wisdom you’d expect from the indefatigable country queen: If you keep your head up, keep moving forward and say [...]

  • Russell BobbittMarvel Studios talk at Beth

    The Best Gifts For Marvel Fans

    From the success of “Deadpool 2” (stream, $5.99 on Amazon) to the rise of “Black Panther” (stream, $3.99 on Amazon) 2018 was a big year for the Marvel Universe. With the holidays just around the corner, we’ve rounded up some of the best Marvel-related gifts, fit for wannabe superheroes, and casual fans alike. 1. Spider-Man [...]

  • Valerian

    EuropaCorp in Advanced Talks to Sell Off Its Post-Production Facility (EXCLUSIVE)

    Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp is in advanced discussions to sell its vast post-production facility, Digital Factory, to Chinese research and engineering studio Southbay, Variety has learned. Southbay specializes in 3D conversion, VFX and post-production for film and TV, and has offices in Los Angeles and in Hangzhou and Shaoxing in China. EuropaCorp is one of Southbay’s clients, along [...]

  • 'Self-Portrait With Boy' in Development at

    'Self-Portrait With Boy' in Development at Topic Studios

    Topic Studios (“Leave No Trace”) has bought rights to Rachel Lyon’s debut novel “Self-Portrait With Boy” and plans to develop the project as a feature film. Lyon will adapt her own novel. John Lyons (“Boogie Nights”), who recently signed a first-look deal with Topic Studios, has come on board to produce. The story is set [...]

  • Ventana Sur Animation Panel Focuses On

    Ricardo Cortes Vera Talks Audience-Driven Content at Ventana Sur

    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Ricardo Cortes Vera, commissioning editor for Señal Colombia, introduced the audience-driven children’s content his company is renowned for in hopes of encouraging a crowd of animators into submitting their own work to the channel. He did so in a keynote address given Tuesday afternoon in Buenos Aires, at the Animation! strand [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content