Box Office - Decade at a Glance: May - August 2001
By Michael Lynderey
July 28, 2009
Taking a break from the blockbusters, June 1st threw out two poorly reviewed comedy vehicles - the Animal (a surprising hit for Rob Schneider, at $57 million) and What's the Worst That Could Happen?, a Martin Lawrence film which grossed under a third of the total of his previous summer release, the certified $100 million-hit Big Momma's House. The third film in release was Moulin Rouge, which helped establish two facts: the musical was back in town, and Nicole Kidman was going to have a very decent career, at least in the first half of the 2000s. The film's $57 million tally may not seem like much, but it got the ball moving on Chicago, another musical that pulled in gangbuster business a year and a half later.
June 8th brought along some decent action, as Swordfish capitalized on Hugh Jackman's emerging popularity for a fair $69 million total (the fact that the budget was over $100 million didn't help, though). Ivan Reitman's sci-fi comedy Evolution, on the other hand, flopped severely, taking in only $32 million on an $80 million budget, and hampering David Duchovny's aspiring leading man status. The two films out on June 15th may not seem very important at first, but they helped shape the decade: Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire was one last grasp at traditional animation-as-blockbuster, and yet again, the outreach was not returned - the film cost $90 million and grossed a few million less than that. The days when an animated Disney film could easily take in well over $100 million - as was the case only two years before, with Tarzan - were over. The second June 15th release was the sprightly video-game adaptation, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Opening at $47 million and finishing with $131 million, the film thoroughly entrenched Angelina Jolie as a summer action star, and gave new life to the fledgling game-to-movie subgenre.
June 22nd gave birth to another star, and another franchise. Car race epic The Fast and the Furious came out of nowhere, opening with $40 million, finishing with $144 million, and getting decent reviews, to boot. Vin Diesel had been hanging around at the edges of some previous films, but this one launched him into the big time, as an actor who'd repeatedly be dubbed the successor to Schwarzenegger and Stallone. Co-star Paul Walker got a career boost too, and Michelle Rodriguez was firmly launched into a handful of "tough chick" roles in the action films of years to come. Not to be outdone, the day's other release, Dr. Dolittle 2, finished with a certainly respectable $112 million total. Good for Eddie Murphy.
The last week of June saw the release of yet another member of the "very anticipated" club. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence combined the talents of director Steven Spielberg with child star Haley Joel Osment and a concept originally developed by Stanley Kubrick. Unfortunately, the reviews didn't come in as overtly enthusiastic, and the film's odd premise of a boy-robot's journey of self-discovery probably turned off a decent portion of audiences. The film grossed only $78 million - not a disaster, but below the budget. On other screens, John Singleton released another well-reviewed urban excursion, Baby Boy, Kirsten Dunst turned in a good performance in the little-seen drama Crazy/Beautiful, and the notorious Pootie Tang hit unsuspecting theaters (but not for very long).