One True Thing

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    [Total: 9 Average: 3.8]
  • Directed By: Carl Franklin
  • Written By: Karen Croner
  • Release Date: September 18, 1998
  • Domestic Distributor: Universal
  • Cast: Meryl Streep, Renée Zellweger, William Hurt

Box Office Info:
Budget: $31 millionFinanced by: Universal
Domestic Box Office: $23,245,840Overseas Box Office: $3,371,000


One True Thing was in development at Fox 2000 in 1997 with Meryl Streep, Renée Zellweger and director Carl Franklin attached, but Fox 2000 passed on the project in July.  Just days later it landed at Universal, which financed. The budget for One True Thing was $31 million.   Universal dated this tearjerker for September 18, 1998 and the movie was not expected to push the studio out of their major slump, which had not landed a major hit since The Lost World: Jurassic Park in May ’97.

One True Thing was slated as a potential awards contender for the studio, which was gearing up to release their end of the year heavy hitters — which turned into a nightmare for Universal.  After One True Thing tanked, they suffered through the box office disasters Meet Joe Black, Babe: Pig In The City and the pointless Psycho remake.

One True Thing bowed against Rush Hour and landed lukewarm reviews.  The acting was praised, but the movie and marketing were not able to transcend its made for TV type narrative.  It opened with $6,606,455 — placing #2 for the weekend led by Rush Hour.  Audiences awarded the movie a strong A cinemascore and One True Thing was expected to play strong throughout the fall.  It declined a modest 32.8% to $4,438,980 in its second frame and continued to post respectable weekly declines — but the domestic run stalled with a very disappointing $23,245,840.

Streep landed her 11th Oscar nomination for One True Thing, but the movie was long out of release when the nominations were announced and Universal did not try to capitalize off of it.  The studio dumped the picture overseas, where it pulled in a mere $3.3M and it went straight to video in the UK.

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