Box Office: The Decade at a Glance
The Year 2000: January - April
By Michael Lynderey
June 29, 2009
It's almost time for the 2010s, and so the need develops to look back at the ten years that comprised the 2000s. The first year of a decade, I've noticed, has the habit of giving birth to many of the trends of the nine years that follow. 2000, a year that now seems so far away in time, was no different.
January - February
The year began quietly, with what has to be one of the deadest recent Januaries - at least for new movies. The holdovers from December were still doing well, as they should have been - fall 1999 was one of the best Oscar seasons of late. Anyway, January wasn't completely devoid of surprises, as Ice Cube's sequel Next Friday delivered a shocking $57 million, while teen idol Freddie Prinze Jr. starred in one of his many flops - Down to You, which grossed only $20 million, down some from Prinze's earlier hits. It would only get worse from here for Freddie, but things would go the other way around for his co-star, Julia Stiles.
The first weekend of February brought along the much anticipated Scream 3. The first two entries in the series were two of the highest grossing horror films ever made (both having delivered very strong tallies of $100+ million, the first mostly on excellent legs). The third in the series was originally scheduled for December 1998 and then the same month in 1999, before finally being pushed back to February 4th. The release date was fitting in a way, because the two Scream-less years of 1998 and 1999 had brought along a heavy supply of teenage horror and slasher films. This cycle had mostly run its course by 2000, and so Scream 3 served as a kind of closure on the subgenre. While the movie delivered the series' strongest opening weekend, at $34m, its run ended with the series' weakest total, $89m, costing the year one seemingly surefire $100 million earner. Scream 3 marked the last big film roles for both of its leads, Courteney Cox and Neve Campbell, ironic because the first Scream had turned them both into solid movie stars. Cox would have a few minor roles in the years following, while Campbell popped up in the long-forgotten Drowning Mona a month later. It would be her last role in a wide theatrical release, at least as of 2009. We miss you, Neve. The Scream series ended here, as it should have, and one would hope rumors of a Scream 4 are just somebody's idea of a cruel joke.
Elsewhere, Leonardo DiCaprio's the Beach grossed only $39 million, and answered the burning question of just how much star power he'd amassed since Titanic (it was mostly uphill from here for Leo, though). Snow Day was a cute kids' movie and minor hit, grossing $60 million. Ben Affleck's Reindeer Games disappointed with $23 million, but his solid string of hits was still ahead. Meg Ryan starred in Hanging Up ($36 million), which helped us bid farewell to her box office clout and started a trend we'd see a lot in the early years of the decade - A-list movie stars of the 1990s fizzling out, as concept-driven films replaced huge star vehicles. The Whole Nine Yards, on the other hand, represented the peak of Matthew Perry's cinematic escapades, grossing $57 million and sentencing him to star in a few little seen comedies. The same weekend saw the release of Boiler Room and Pitch Black, both of which - especially the latter - introduced us to Vin Diesel's screen persona. A mild hit at $38 million, Pitch Black paved the way for Diesel's casting in The Fast and the Furious (as we later found out, Diesel ended up a bigger box-office factor than his character here, Riddick).