General News

Mickey Mouse Year at Box Office

By:
Mar 19, 2001 | 11:50am EST

Buoyed by the holiday success of "Toy Story 2," the summer hit "Tarzan" and the mega-sleeper "The Sixth Sense," Disney was 1999's studio box-office champion.

The title marks the sixth time in seven years that the Magic Kingdom has captured the biggest slice of the domestic movie market.

Disney product accounted for 17 percent of all ticket sales, grossing more than $1 billion. The Mouse House, which had a rough year on Wall Street, nonetheless ruled Hollywood thanks to a pair of $200 million-plus hits ("Sixth Sense" and "Toy Story 2"), and a couple of kiddie superstars, "Tarzan" ($170.8 mil) and "Inspector Gadget" ($97.4 million).

Disney's dominant box-office performance came despite less-than-great performance from several front-line releases, including "The Insider," the critically acclaimed but commercially tepid tobacco-industry drama, and the family oriented "Bicentennial Man" with Robin Williams.

At No. 2 was Warner Bros. with 14 percent of the market thanks to films such as "The Matrix" ($171.4 million), (the overall disappointing) "Wild Wild West" ($113.7 million), "Analyze This" ($106.7 million), "Pokemon: The First Movie" ($83.6 million) and "The Green Mile" ($78.1 million in 1999 -- and still counting).

Warner Bros. also topped $1 billion in ticket sales -- making 1999 just the second time that two distributors achieved that milestone.

Universal -- a lowly No. 9 among studios in 1998 - climbed to No. 3 in 1999, with a 13 percent market share. Hit titles such as "The Mummy," "Notting Hill" and "American Pie" were credited with the turnaround.

Last year's big studio loser looks to be 20th Century Fox, which despite "Star Wars: Episode One -- The Phantom Menace" failed to crack the Top Five. Its problem? Lack of non-"Phantom Menace" hits. After the $430 million-grossing "Star Wars" flick, Fox's only other major player was "Entrapment," the action thriller starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones. That film was 1999's No. 21 flick with $87.7 million in ticket sales. ("Phantom Menace," of course, was No. 1.)

Paramount, which rode the success of "Titanic" and sailed away with the second-biggest piece of the national market in 1998, slipped to No. 4 in 1999. That studio's catalog of top-grossers included "Runaway Bride," "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut," "The General's Daughter" and "Double Jeopardy."

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