'EDtv' and the 'Mod Squad''s openings fail to intrigue audiences

By Josh Wolk
Updated March 29, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST
Credit: Julian Barton
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”Forces of Nature” clung to the top of the box office chart with $9.4 million in its second week. But it’s a halfhearted victory, considering that total movie revenue this weekend — some $70 million — was the lowest of 1999. Whether it’s the competition from March Madness, or the improving weather, or just that audiences think the new movies look like stinkers, people have been staying home recently, with new releases consistently underperforming. This weekend’s major opening, ”EDtv,” pulled in only $8.3 million for third place, while ”The Mod Squad” landed in fourth with just $6.1 million, and ”Doug’s 1st Movie” earned $4.5 million in its first few days. Second-place ”Analyze This” has been the only hit since New Year’s, taking in another $8.7 million in its fourth week and heading for a $100 million total by the end of its run.

The only good news came for this year’s Oscar winners, ”Shakespeare in Love” and ”Life Is Beautiful.” Miramax expanded ”Shakespeare” into 52 percent more theaters to capitalize on its seven-statue grab, and the film’s gross jumped by 43 percent, to $4.3 million, putting it in sixth place. Meanwhile, audiences seemed wooed by Roberto Benigni’s Oscar-night hyperactivity, putting ”Life” into the top 10 (at No. 8) for the first time with $3.2 million. If only Claire Danes had jumped on a chair and declared her desire to make love with the audience, maybe ”Mod Squad” would have fared a bit better.

Analyze This

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