Date: 17th November 2000

The Season Begins

Today marks the beginning of the crucial holiday season for studios and exhibitors, and many are betting that the new releases will pull in crowds at the box office that will offset last summer's downturn.

In particular, theater owners are hoping that "How the Grinch Stole Christmas, starring Jim Carrey, which opens on 3,127 screens, turns out to be as popular among moviegoers as the Dr. Seuss book has been among families for more than 40 years. I do know this picture is going to open fabulously," Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco told Daily Variety. Some analysts are skeptical, however, noting, for example, that the trailers for the movie did not make it appear that audiences were in store for much fun. The buzz has not been much better for Arnold Schwarzenegger's action flick The 6th Day or Miramax's Bounce.

Analysts appear much more sanguine about prospects for three films yet to come -- all from Disney: Unbreakable, 102 Dalmatians and The Emperor's New Groove. Still, none of those films carries with it the ring of sure-fire success that accompanied, say, a Jurassic Park or Star Wars sequel. As David Sterritt notes in today's Christian Science Monitor: "Hollywood isn't exactly running scared, but its lights aren't blazing quite as brightly as last year at this time."

Source: Studio Briefing



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