The Princess Diaries

Release Date: August 3, 2001

Two words: Grey Poupon

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Strangely, while produced by Whitney Houston and starring Julie Andrews, The Princess Diaries is a film for young girls that is, thankfully for parents, not a musical. The film is based on a book of the same name by Meg Chabot. The film is about a girl from the city named Mia, played by Anne Hathaway, who finds out she is a princess of a small country called Genovia. Julie Andrews plays Mia's royal grandmother, who comes to America to give her lessons on how to be a princess. Sounds like a bit of My Fair Lady mixed with The Prince and the Pauper.

The mighty Disney Corporation, who had last year's summer live-action kid movie and moderate hit The Kid, is releasing The Princess Diaries. Disney's The Kid opened to $12.69 million in July of last year and enjoyed good legs during its run. A further comparison here is another Mouse House hit, The Parent Trap, which opened in the first week of August in 1998. The Parent Trap somehow overcame the Dennis Quaid curse to open to $11 million, after generating $5 million before its opening weekend. Young girls love concepts such as this, and they turn these films into very profitable entities for Disney Corp.

The film is directed by the King of Schmaltz, Garry Marshall, director of Pretty Woman, Beaches, and Runaway Bride. A movie for the under-16 set is new ground for Marshall, the veteran of TV and movies, but his resume of sentimental tissue-drawing films should work to his advantage here. (John Hamann/BOP)

Box Office Autopsy
The preteen-to-teen girl market has been a growing one in the past few years. Films like Save the Last Dance and, to a lesser extent, Legally Blonde have catered to this relatively-untapped audience with great success. Reaching back a few years, there's also The Parent Trap and its $66 million. Disney continues to be the king at catering to younger audiences, as The Princess Diaries shows. With no star-power whatsoever, they took this movie to a $22.9 million opening. It was also one of the rarest of beasts, a live-action G-rated movie. Films targeted young are prone to long legs and this was no exception, ending up at $108 million. It's a truly astonishing figure when you consider that this was lead Anne Hathaway's first film! International markets were soft, earning just $45 million. The rental game was kinder, with a respectable $61 million, but for a film with a $30 million budget, all of this is gravy. For Disney, finding a niche has once again proven to be very profitable.

Vital statistics for The Princess Diaries
Main Cast Anne Hathaway, Julie Andrews, Hector Elizondo
Supporting Cast Heather Matarazzo, Mandy Moore, Caroline Goodall, Robert Schwartzman, Eric von Detten, Patrick Flueger
Director Garry Marshall
Screenwriter Gina Wendkos
Distributor Disney
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating G
Running Time 114 minutes
Screen Count 2,537
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for The Princess Diaries
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Princess Diaries, The 8/3/0122.86 24.39 2537 9011.00 9250.2 108.24 115.52 4.73
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids 6/23/8914.26 21.55 1371 10401.00 15119.2 130.72 197.55 9.17
Disney's The Kid 7/7/0012.69 14.19 2167 5856.00 6301.4 69.69 77.96 5.49
Parent Trap, The (1998) 7/31/9811.15 14.33 2247 4962.00 6136.4 66.30 85.24 5.49
Honey, I Blew up the Kids 7/17/9211.08 16.09 2311 4794.00 6700.0 58.69 85.27 5.30
Don't tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead 6/7/914.23 6.05 1802 2347.00 3233.4 25.12 35.97 5.94
Babysitter's Club, The 8/18/953.42 4.74 1709 2001.00 2668.0 9.55 13.23 2.79



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