1998 Summer Box Office Blockbuster Contest Results

Here's the final results of the summer blockbuster contest announced about four months ago. To remind you, the point of the contest was to predict how well six big summer movies would do, and to choose the film not on that list that would do the best. The six films I chose and their final grosses were -

The film not on this list that performed best over the summer was "Saving Private Ryan," which made $168.6 million, not quite catching up to "Armageddon" as the most successful film of the summer, but exceeding all other films. "Saving Private Ryan" is still making over $10 million per week, while "Armageddon" is not in the weekly top ten any longer, so "Saving Private Ryan" is expected to be the most successful film of the summer. For the second year in a row, I failed to choose the top performing summer film, in the long run, for the contest. (This year, of course, the overall top performing film will be "Titanic," which was ineligible because it opened last Christmas. Those with long memories may recollect it was one of the choices in last summer's contest, but did not open during the summer. The folks who predicted it would open during the summer probably won't want to be reminded of their predictions of its success.)

This year, 40 people entered the contest, the biggest pool so far.

For the first time, we have a tie for the winner, between Brandon Gray and Ken Rudolph, each with 66 points. I considered various tie breakers - Mr. Gray hit right on for one film ("Mulan"), unlike Mr. Rudolph or anyone else in the contest, and was the best picker on 3 of the six films; but Mr. Rudolph was extremely consistent, being the only contest participant to get points for all films. Each excelled in his own way, so we'll leave it at a tie. Beth Gilligan came in third, with 52 points.

Twelve of the participants chose "Saving Private Ryan" as the sleeper film, demonstrating the wisdom of not underestimating the box office appeal of Steven Spielberg's films. Seventeen of our participants thought "The X-Files" movie would be the sleeper. Interestingly, not one participant thought that "Dr. Doolittle," the runner-up for the sleeper film, would be the sleeper.

Mr. Gray's bullseye on "Mulan" was the only absolutely correct guess. But Mike D'Angelo deserves special mention for the most spectacularly incorrect guess of the contest, with a prediction of $342 million for "Godzilla." Unfortunately for Mr. D'Angelo, Louis, the Budweiser spokescritter, proved to be a more popular lizard than Godzilla.

Here are the complete results, in increasing point order:

  • Trisha Ross 0
  • Peace Electric 5
  • JPC 5
  • Charles Lin 5
  • Mike D'Angelo 6
  • MuseMalade 7
  • Stefan Flosbach 10
  • Nancy Peters 10
  • Bjorn Olson 10
  • Max S. Scheinin 13
  • Vic Telesino 14
  • Don Nascimento 14
  • Bill Nottingham 14
  • Kent Beason 15
  • Sean Wereley 18
  • Scott Tobias 18
  • Kevin Patterson 18
  • Justin Siegel 19
  • Brett Buckalew 22
  • Jason Buchmann 23
  • Hendri Liato 23
  • at 23
  • Alex Fung 23
  • Cavan van Ulft 25
  • Joshua Kreitzer 27
  • Anurag Juneja 27
  • Andrew Campbell 27
  • Shahab Hasan 28
  • James Callan 28
  • Andrew Wright 28
  • Alan Ping 28
  • James McLaughlin 30
  • Erik Gregersen 32
  • Dave 32
  • radev 33
  • Andrew Haug 34
  • Charles Odell 42
  • Beth Gilligan 52
  • Ken Rudolph 66
  • Brandon Gray 66

    I had expected lower scores due to the increased number of entries, and indeed the averages are lower, but the top scores are just as good as they have been in recent years.

    This was a fair year of choices for me. I got the top film of the summer in the list, and five of the six films I chose made over $100 million. But I missed the phenomenal "There's Something About Mary" (which shows no signs of slowing down), "Saving Private Ryan" (after "Titanic," probably the second highest grossing film this year), "Dr. Doolittle," and "Deep Impact."

    There is a companion piece analyzing 1997's summer box office results.

    Thanks to all who entered.

    Back to the film contest page.