Date: 27th November 2000

Grinch Steals Box Office From Disney

Talk of a weakened box office was quashed by the weekend box office which saw Jim Carrey's Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas take in an estimated $73.8 million, Disney's Unbreakable, $47.2 million and Disney's 102 Dalmatians, $26.8 million.

The five-day Thanksgiving weekend saw the top 12 films gross $236 million, 13.6 percent above last year's record-breaking holiday when Disney's Toy Story 2 debuted with $80.1 million. The results flew in the face of analysts' predictions that Disney would likely be the big winner and gross more than $100 million with Unbreakable and Dalmatians. (It was the first Thanksgiving weekend in seven years that Disney had not led the box office.)

Several analysts had also said that poor word-of-mouth would do in The Grinch. But, as things now stand, the Universal/Imagine film has earned $137.4 million over just ten days.

In an interview with Bloomberg News, Grinch producer Brian Grazer said that he and partner Ron Howard "are just so beyond excited. We can't believe it."

On the other hand, the performance of Dalmatians was clearly a disappointment to Disney. Reporting on the relatively small take, the Wall Street Journal observed today that Disney "could have in Dalmatians a potential money loser -- a rarity for the company whose brand has dominated the family film genre for decades."

However, Disney distribution chief Chuck Viane told the newspaper: "At some point the families who have gone to The Grinch are going to turn to another family film. ... I think that'll be us." Separately, Viane told USA Today, "We hit a home run, but Grinch hit a grand slam."

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations: 1. Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, $73.8 million; 2. Unbreakable, $47.2 million; 3. 102 Dalmatians, $26.8 million; 4. Rugrats in Paris: The Movie, $22.8 million; 5. Charlie's Angels, $14.0 million; 6. Bounce, $11.0 million; 7. The 6th Day, $10.2 million; 8. Men of Honor, $9.3 million; 9. Meet the Parents, $9.0 million; 10. Little Nicky, $6.5 million.

Source: Studio Briefing