Enough bests and worsts, top and bottom tens, Golden Globes and "Loooooved your movie"-type schmoozing!
We want to know what the public liked, what people laid down their dollars for - the big buck box office stats! Right?Well, rest your mercenary little hearts. At last the speculation is over. It is now official, according to Exhibitor Relations, which calculated through the end of the year that the biggest moneymaking movies of 1988 were:
1. WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT, $150 million
2. Coming to America, $128 million
3. Big, $112 million
4. `Crocodile' Dundee II, $109 million
5. Die Hard, $80 million
6. Cocktail, $77 million
7. Beetlejuice, $73 million
8. A Fish Called Wanda, $60 million
9. Willow, $56 million
10. Twins, $56 million
If you'd rather have the top 15, here are five more, all following closely: "Scrooged" ($55 million), "Rambo III" ($54 million), "Bull Durham" ($50 million), "A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master" ($49 million), "Colors" ($46 million).
And, just so they don't feel left out, we should explain that three 1987 movies earned the bulk of their money during 1988 - "Good Morning, Vietnam," "Three Men and a Baby" and "Moonstruck."
But they were, after all, 1987 movies.
- BUT WHAT WAS really the biggest box office champ of 1988?
According to an article by Leonard Klady in the Los Angeles Times, the winner is "Bambi."
You see, "Bambi" had no production costs to recoup.
The 46-year-old Disney animated feature originally cost $2 million to make and, naturally, earned its profits back so long ago that 1988 earnings - $38 million - are pure gravy.
Well, maybe not pure gravy. There were advertising costs and all those stored prints had to be shipped to theaters. But that's a relatively small slice of the "Bambi" pie.
Ol' Walt certainly knew what he was doing with that seven-year reissue cycle.
- AND IF ALL this box office money talk has you wondering once again where "Gone With the Wind" stands, or in other words, is it still the most popular movie ever?
Rest assured that it is.
Every now and then someone adjusts the all-time moneymaker list of box office champs for inflation so we can see how "GWTW" stacks up against "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial," which is the actual-dollar champ. And William R. Bryan, chairman of the University of Illinois finance department, has done just that once again, according to the Knight-Ridder wire service and USA Today.
"GWTW" has earned $77.6 million actual dollars, which places it at No. 22 on Variety's all-time list - and far below "E.T.'s" phenomenal $228.4 million.
But Bryan, using as sources the University of Illinois, Hollywood writer Monika Guttman and the publications Us, Premiere, Fame and the Hollywood Reporter, says that if you adjust for an 800 percent increase in inflation since 1939, population growth and increases in personal income, the film's adjusted gross receipts would come to $6.7 billion.
Let's see "E.T." match that. Even with video sales!
In his inflation-adjusted top 10, Bryan places "Snow White" at No. 2 with revised earnings of $6.2 billion, followed by "Pinocchio" at $2.6 billion and "Fantasia" at $2.26 billion.
Ah, but what about the film we were just discussing? Remember? "Bambi"? Bryan says "Bambi" is at No. 5, with an adjusted gross of $1.5 billion. (Klady's right. It was 1988's biggest moneymaker.)
Rounding out Bryan's adjusted top 10 are "Cinderella" ($1.2 billion), "The Sound of Music" ($813.6 million), "The Ten Commandments" ($801.1 million), "Star Wars" ($539.9 million) and "Doctor Zhivago" ($474.9 million).
Disney obviously dominates, and "Star Wars" is the only post-'60s film in the bunch.
Who says the public doesn't want to see family films?
- WOULD YOU BELIEVE that after naming 14 sequels in last week's column that are in production for release this year a reader called to tell me I left one out?
"The Karate Kid III."
You're right. Sorry.
(Let's just hope it's too late to begin "Die Hard II" or "Beetlejuice II" for 1989 release.)
- TRUE CONFESSIONS: If you saw, or attempted to take, that enormous movie quiz on the cover of the Today section this past week and if you happened to have seen the film "Bull Durham," you may have the same quibble with me that a couple of readers noted: There was indeed a bull in the film.
And that was the point of the question, of course. I said there was not. We could quibble further and perhaps define bull a bit further, perhaps as a living, breathing, walking around-type bull.
But I'm willing to take my lumps.
After all, I learned something from this encounter.
No, not that I should better research my material. Something much more logical.
That if you're going to make a mistake, make it down low in the article. People are bound to get tired and give up before they find it.
Unfortunately, this mistake was a little higher up.
It was the first question.
Oh, well, as my editor says, "If they're complaining, they're reading."
True. But I still hope Mom sees fewer movies next year.
- "RAIN MAN" fulfilled its threat and overtook "Twins" for first place at the box offices of America last week by taking in an incredible $141/2 million, despite "Twins" playing in nearly 600 more theaters.
"Rain Man," playing in 1,254 theaters, earned a whopping $11,448 in each; "Twins, on 1,624 screens, took home $7,420 from each.
Here's the latest national "top 10" countdown, according to the show business trade papers:
1. RAIN MAN, $141/2 million ($421/2 million, three weeks).
2. Twins, $8 million ($551/2 million, four weeks).
3. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! $8 million ($48 million, five weeks).
4. Oliver & Company, $71/2 million ($40 million, six weeks).
5. Working Girl, $7 million ($17 million, two weeks).
6. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, $61/2 million ($221/2 million, three weeks).
7. Tequila Sunrise, $41/2 million ($281/2 million, five weeks).
8. The Land Before Time, $31/2 million ($38 million, seven weeks).
9. Scrooged, $31/2 million ($55 million, six weeks).
10. Hellbound: Hellraiser II, $21/2 million ($71/2 million, two weeks).