Date: 19th September 2000

Theaters Are Olympics Losers

The Watcher may have captured the top spot at the domestic box office over the weekend for the second straight time but its $5.7 million in ticket sales indicated that not too many watchers turned out to see it.

Indeed, the top 12 films grossed only $38.1 million, down 44 percent from the same weekend last year. While some analysts blamed competition from the Olympics for the poor showing, others pointed out that the studios may have created a self-fulfilling prophecy by assuming that many moviegoers would stay home to watch the TV coverage and dumping the least promising product on the market.

Warner Bros.' Bait opened in second place with just $5.5 million, while Disney's Duets, playing on only 581 screens, took in just $2 million. Swimming strongly against the tide was DreamWorks' Almost Famous, which earned $2.31 million on just 131 screens, a sensational $17,669 average per screen. (By contrast, The Watcher's per-screen average was just $2,115.)

The top ten films over the weekend, according to final figures compiled by Exhibitor Relations (figures in parentheses present total gross to date):

1. The Watcher, Universal, $5,805,680, ($17,376,895); 2. Bait, Warner Bros., $5,485,591, (New); 3. Bring It On, Universal, $5,084,580, ($50,935,610); 4. Nurse Betty, USA, $4,658,762, ($13,552,543); 5. Space Cowboys, Warner Bros., $2,515,232, ($82,202,221); 6. The Cell, New Line, $2,448,021, ($54,985,122); 7. What Lies Beneath, DreamWorks, $2,406,524, ($145,578,552); 8. Almost Famous, DreamWorks, $2,314,646, ($2,376,387); 9. Scary Movie, Dimension, $2,039,085, ($151,771,492); 10. Duets, Disney, $2,002,588, (New).

Source: Studio Briefing