At First Sight

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  • Directed By: Irwin Winkler
  • Written By: Oliver Sacks, Steve Levitt
  • Release Date: January 15, 1999
  • Domestic Distributor: MGM
  • Cast: Val Kilmer, Mira Sorvino, Kelly McGillis

Box Office Info:
Budget: $42 millionFinanced by: MGM
Domestic Gross: $22,365,133Overseas Gross: N/A


The budget for At First Sight was $42 million and it was financed by the hapless and perpetually in financial distress MGM.   Val Kilmer landed a $9 million payday and after this and 2000’s Red Planet tanked, his studio leading man days were finished.  MGM at this time period was owned for the third time by Kirk Kerkorian, who bought the troubled studio in 1996 for $1.6 billion and then increased his shareholder ownership in 1998 to 90%.

At First Sight was directed by Irwin Winkler, veteran producer of numerous classics (Goodfellas, Rocky, Raging Bull, The Right Stuff) and director of mostly throwaway commercial fare (The Net).  The picture was first dated for October 23, 1998 and then pushed to November 20, 1998 and then delayed to February 5, 1999 and finally moved forward to January 15, 1999.  By the time At First Sight was being primed for its release, MGM had not had a box office success since The Man in the Iron Mask in March 1998.  MGM’s 1999 first quarter releases (At First Sight, The Rage: Carrie 2 and The Mod Squad) left a combined $54.3M write-down for the studio.

At First Sight was poorly reviewed and bowed against Varsity Blues and two other flops that also had their release dates delayed — Virus and In Dreams.  The sentimental movie would also be competing for auds against other more successful sappy pics still in the marketplace — Patch Adams, Stepmom and You’ve Got MailAt First Sight pulled in a soft $8,444,321 — placing #5 for the weekend led by Varsity Blues.  It declined 43% to $4,787,150 the following frame and fell 44.6% to $2,650,442 in its third session.  The domestic run closed with a terrible $22,365,133.  MGM would see returned about $12.2M after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which leaves over half of the P&A expenses in the red and the budget untouched by the theatrical receipts.

Overseas numbers are not available.  MGM packaged the hit The Man In The Iron Mask with 6 unwanted flops (Hoodlum, Mod Squad, Dirty Work, Disturbing Behavior, The Rage: Carrie 2 and At First Sight) to sell to the USA network and their sister channel Sci-Fi Channel for $22 million.

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