Box Office: The Decade at a Glance
The Year 2000: May through August
By Michael Lynderey
June 30, 2009
August started off with the lively Space Cowboys and the disappointing Hollow Man. Cowboys was yet another in Clint Eastwood's "one last hurrah" oeuvre of films, and the combination of aging movie stars brought this one out to a nice $90 million total - a prelude to the unexpected success of Gran Torino. Hollow Man, on the other hand, was another chapter in the "science gone mad" storyline of the 1990s (see Jurassic Park, Outbreak, etc.); this subgenre usually featured a motley team of scientists - led by two or three big movie stars and several character actors - who attempt to thwart some threat to mankind, one that they often inadvertently unleashed themselves. Sounds good on paper, but the film cost $95 million and grossed only $73 million, thus basically ending director Paul Verhoeven's Hollywood career (the fact that his two previous films were Showgirls and Starship Troopers, both box office underperformers to varying degrees, didn't help). It was also the last we'd see of Elisabeth Shue in a major film until 2005.
The month's second week gave us weak star vehicles for Richard Gere and Winona Ryder (Autumn in New York), as well Kim Basinger (Bless the Child). The latter film was one of a cycle of millennium-ending Devil-themed End of the World movies that were all the rage in 1999 (yes, this one was a few months too late). Since pretty much all of those movies weren't very good, I suppose it's comforting to know we won't see another such trend for a good 990 years now. Just enough time to recover. Week 2 also gave Keanu Reeves a mild hit with The Replacements ($44 million), but Reeves saw most of his success this decade in sci-fi, leaving comedy mostly behind.
Speaking of sci-fi, it's a little odd that romantic comedy queen Jennifer Lopez had her first real solo hit with The Cell. A visually neat little combo of serial killer thriller and technological fantasy, the movie opened with $17 million and left theaters with $61 million - a surprise hit of sorts. The surprises continued with Bring It On and Coyote Ugly, two somewhat trashy teen movies that each racked up $60 million plus. To date, Bring it On has inspired FOUR sequels (to be fair, they all went straight-to-video).
Summer 2000 had frankly paled in comparison to its predecessor - 1999 was known for huge hits like Episode I, Austin Powers, The Sixth Sense, and the Blair Witch Project - the latter two coming nearly out of nowhere. Summer 2000, however, saw only Mission: Impossible II cross the $200 million mark.