Feature Blogs

2003's Hits And Misses

Created on Tuesday, 19 August 2003 21:00
Written by Matthew Toomey

This week I thought I’d take a quick look at the hits and misses so far this year. Now that the American summer is behind us, let’s unpeel the wrapping to see what really went on. There’s so much hype surrounding every film but which one’s were the big success stories and which incurred big losses?


Let’s start at the box-office, shall we? What do you think the top 5 films have been to date in the States? If you thought Matrix: Reloaded was the top of the chart, you’d be wrong. They are….

1. Finding Nemo ($324.9m)

2. The Matrix: Reloaded ($277.7m)

3. Pirates Of The Caribbean ($247.9m)

4. Bruce Almighty ($239.3m)

5. X2: X-Men United ($214.7m)


No other film has come close to cracking the $200m mark. Finding Nemo has been the smash hit of the year for Pixar and the most profitable animated film since, well, ever! The Lion King held the previous record with $328.4m and it should pass that mark in the next couple of weeks. That is outstanding and expect even bigger things here when it’s released Thursday week.


The other noticeable surprise would have to be Pirates Of The Caribbean. Few would remember (because no one saw it) that Cutthroat Island (made back in the mid-90s) was one of the biggest loss making films in history. Pirates just didn’t take at the box-office. Well the lure of Johnny Depp, Orlando Jones, Geoffrey Rush and Kiera Knightly has sent this new film soaring up the charts. It’s released here just in time for the school holidays on September 11.


Of the rest, The Matrix: Reloaded and X2 were expected to succeed. Jim Carrey stamps his authority in the industry with another $200m hit in Bruce Almighty. It’s not too far away from his highest grossing flick ever – The Grinch ($260m).


Down in the pack, some lesser films performed well. Despite being one of the worst movies of the year, Anger Management still reeled in $133m (budget was $75m). Other comedies were successful too – the best being Bringing Down The House which collected $132m (budget $35m). Nice to see Steve Martin with a hit but again it wasn’t the greatest. Hey, it seems all the bad comedies performed! Daddy Day Care even made $101m (from a budget of $60m).


It wasn’t just the comedies that audiences warmed to. The remake of The Italian Job (released this week in Oz) has found $96m to date. Kids have taken to the Spy Kids series with Spy Kids 3-D grossing more than double its budget with $87m. And early front-runner for the Oscars this year is Seabiscuit and despite a huge gamble (the film cost $86m), it’s managed to recoup it’s costs. The film is touching audiences.


So we like hearing the good stuff but we also love sticking it to people when they’re down, right?


The performance of The Hulk has to be a disappointment. Only $130m was taken and for a much hyped blockbuster which cost $120m, that isn’t good enough. Surprisingly, a sequel has been ordered. Bad Boys 2 performed fairly but its $123m take hasn’t matched its $130m production cost. Opening the season was the new superhero, Daredevil – but after a strong opening, it died quickly and could only managed $102m on a $75m budget. If you’re noticing a trend, it’s that the big action releases, aren’t performing like they used to. It might be time for a rethink in Hollywood.


What about the real losers? Tomb Raider 2 is right up there. Angelina Jolie is right out of favour with the sequel pulling in a pathetic $55m after costing $90m. Bruce Willis didn’t find his regular audience either with Tears Of The Sun (released here this week) taking just $43m (budget $70m). If you saw the natural disaster movie, The Core, you’d be one of the rare few since it only managed $31m (budget of $85m). It would have to be one of the year’s poorest.


To end on a positive note, two independent films made big waves in Hollywood. Bend It Like Beckham has $30m to date and keeps on going. Having already made lots of dough around the globe, investors would be very happy. The film only cost around $5m. The other film was Whale Rider. $13m in the States but even more internationally. Word of mouth from the festivals has paid off.