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Summer Movie Hits And Misses

This summer showed the power of the Internet when it comes to marketing a movie.

That's the word from Dave Karger, a contributing writer to Entertainment Weekly magazine. He discusses summer winners and losers at the box office with CBS This Morning Co-Anchor Mark McEwen.



"I think The Blair Witch Project really kind of heralded itself on the Web," says Karger.

"Before the film came out, they had a Blair Witch Project Web site, and they were getting millions of hits a day. That got people excited," he says.

It was the same thing with American Pie, he notes. "There were unofficial sites that showed great scenes and got people excited."

Blair Witch cost $30,000 to make, and the movie is probably going to end up reaping at least $140 million.

"It just snuck up on people," adds Karger. "The movie business has never seen anything like this before."

He calls Julia Roberts as one of the biggest stars of the summer(Notting Hill and The Runaway Bride) along with Mike Meyers (Austin Powers).

Below is Karger's scorecard in a nutshell:

SUMMER
WINNERS
SUMMER
LOSERS
Star Wars: Episode One -
The Phantom Menace
Wild Wild West
The Blair Witch ProjectEyes Wide Shut
Austin Powers:
The Spy Who Shagged Me
The Hunting

Karger gives his comments on various films and stars:

  • On Star Wars: Episode One - The Phantom Menace: He calls it "a phenomenon unto itself. No matter what came out, that would have been No. 1Â….People were crying disappointment after the first weekend."

    "I don't think the first weekend was up to snuff for what this should have done," Karger observes. "That's because people saw everybody lining up on the news, and they were afraid that if they went the first weekend, they wouldn't get in."

    "So the first weekend was something of a disappointment. But it really hung on and was No. 1 and made $20 million a weekend over and over again and made over $400 million," he says.

  • On Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me: "Usually, a sequel does to-thirds as well as the original movie. But the Austin Powers sequel made four times as much as the first one," Karger notes.

    "People discovered the first one on video, and Austin Powers became a huge phenomenon at that point," he says. "That excitement translated into huge box office for the sequel."

  • On Eyes Wide Shut: "Warner Bros. will tell you that Eyes Wide Shut made what they had expected it to," says Karger.

    "But for a Tom Cruise-Nicole Kidman movie to only make $55 million is not good. Besides, people hated this movie, both critics and movie audiences, so it is a big disappointment," he says.

    Also, audiences aren't used to director Stanley Kubrick's type of filmmaking, he says. "He [was] a genius, but people went in expecting a Tom Cruise movie and what they saw was a Stanley Kubrick movie."

  • On Julia Roberts: "Julia Roberts put out two romantic comedies within a month and a half of each other, Notting Hill and Runaway Bride," he says. "They will gross $260 million. It proves, when it comes to female box office draws, no one compares to Julia."
  • On Mike Meyers: "He just got $20 million to make the movie Sprockets because of how big Austin Powers was," he says.
  • On The Sixth Sense: "It has become only the third movie ever to earn more than $20 million four weekends in a row." The first two were Star Wars and Titanic.

    The Sixth Sense "really came out of nowhere. It was not on anybody's radar, and it has made a killing," he says.

    "Disney wasn't going to release this. They were going to put it out in the fall and decided they had something on their hands and put it out in August. It's really the dead zone. This movie has really dominated [the box office]Â…. People love the ending and love the kid, [Haley Joel Osment,]" says Karger

  • On Wild Wild West: "Will Smith, [the star of the movie,] talked about how he owned the Fourth of July weekend with Independence Day and Men in Black. People were expecting big things from him," Karger says.

    But, for Wild Wild West, "the reviews were horrible, and audiences didn't like it at all," he notes. Although it made $114 million, it cost more to make and to market.

  • On The Haunting: "It cost $80 million to make and barely broke even," Karger says.
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