August 24, 2001
What at first sounds like an odd subject matter for a movie has been turned into a major motion picture by Disney and will be hitting theatres in its unique fashion. Directed by a newcomer and starring some truly unknown stars, the movie will have to fight for its box-office life by selling this film as an idea and a concept as opposed to selling it on star power. The key is to have a funny product that will sell itself in quick bursts of advertising.
Bubble Boy runs the risk of being a one-joke film, something the early ads are really pointing at. It's a silly concept, so it'll make for some genuinely funny moments. It also creates a new set of jokes that wouldn't have been able to be done before, but it's important for the movie to follow through on that potential. One-joke ads can be very effective, as Rob Schneider can testify to, but this movie lacks the historical precedent set with Schneider's movies.
The trailer is slightly better than average, and if the movie falls on a good weekend, it could do well. If, however, it sees some competition, the movie can suffer. The early buzz is rather positive, and the studio has enough faith in this movie to keep it in the summertime, although admittedly the end of August barely qualifies as benefiting from the summer season.
Regardless, even if this movie performs really well, it should only have box office in the low teens and when taking its competition into consideration, that number would almost be a definite. (Walid Habboub/BOP)
Box Office Autopsy
Poor Bubble Boy. No matter how you slice or dice it, Bubble Boy turned into an unmitigated disaster for Touchstone Releasing. After a long and seemingly funny marketing campaign, Bubble Boy not only flopped coming out of the gate, he also crashed and burned. The comedy debuted on only 1,605 screens, and grossed only $2.04 million over its opening weekend.
What does Disney do when reviews come out that say "Certainly the meanest-spirited film ever associated with the Disney hallmark"? Dump it. When Bubble Boy's opening weekend came along, Touchstone chose to release this film on only 1,605 screens, dooming it to failure before it got started. Were they embarrassed by it? Maybe. Were they worried that protest groups upset over a comedy about a boy in the bubble might continue to make waves about the film? Maybe. Whatever the case, Disney chose not to try to recoup their $13 million dollar investment, instead letting this one die on the vine. I think that if the super-studio had more money invested, they might have kicked up more of a fight; instead the film grossed only $5 million domestic. If anything, Bubble Boy should go down as the perfect example of a film dumped in the late August graveyard of 'unreleasable' films. (John Hamann/BOP)
Comparison films for Bubble Boy
|Dude, Where's My Car?
|Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo
|Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey
|Benny and Joon