Box Office: The Decade at a Glance
The Year 2000: September through December
By Michael Lynderey
July 1, 2009
December finished off the year with displays of old-school star power and holiday legs, as Tom Hanks' Cast Away rode to a magnificent $233 million finish and Mel Gibson's romantic comedy What Women Want totaled $182 million. Considering also his aforementioned Patriot and Chicken ventures, this was a big year for Gibson. However, it was not to last - not getting into his directing career, the 2000s saw Gibson star in only one other mega-blockbuster (Signs). Hanks, on the other hand, had better luck in the years following; even so, Cast Away felt like a culmination of sorts to Hanks' 1990s streak of mega-hits. Not all star vehicles have to be so huge to be considered a success - Sandra Bullock's Miss Congeniality went all the way up to $106 million, an excellent score, while Nic Cage's the Family Man finished with $75 million.
Elsewhere, the biggest winners of Oscar legs were Traffic, Steven Soderbergh's second huge hit of the year and a certified $124 million grosser, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The latter film finished with an amazing $128 million, immediately enshrining wire-fu martial arts into popular culture. How could a subtitled Chinese-language film make so much money? Next, Finding Forrester pulled in a decent $51 million, and is still Sean Connery's last serious movie. Another awards season hit was Chocolat, which crawled all the way up to $71 million and a handful of nominations - no surprise, considering it was a Miramax Film. The Coen Brothers' O Brother, Where Art Thou? came in as one of their heftiest grossers, with a $46 million total - it was a good year for George Clooney. Sam Raimi's the Gift wasn't so lucky ($12 million); neither was Billy Bob Thornton's directional debut, All the Pretty Horses, which finished with a meek $15 million, despite the presence of Matt Damon. Finally, Kevin Costner's Cuban Missile Crisis drama Thirteen Days continued the streak of Costner disappointments, finishing with only $34 million on an $80 million budget.
On a less serious note, Dude, Where's My Car? broke out to a decent $46 million, thus launching Ashton Kutcher as a comedy star, while the long-awaited (I think) film version of Dungeons & Dragons absolutely flopped, grossing only $15 million. Meg Ryan had another lame duck film with Proof of Life, which finished with $32 million on a $65 million budget.
And finally, December also delivered the near-ultimate blow to traditional animation, with the Emperor's New Groove. Ostensibly Disney's big animated entry into the Christmas 2000 family movie sweepstakes, the film was completely overshadowed by the still powerful Grinch; it became the lowest grossing hand-drawn Disney animation since The Rescuers Down Under in 1990 (if you take the odd Fantasia 2000 out of the equation).
Hey, that's what Grinches do.