Isn't She Great

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  • Directed By: Andrew Bergman
  • Written By: Paul Rudnick
  • Release Date: January 28, 2000
  • Domestic Distributor: Universal
  • Cast: Bette Midler, Nathan Lane, Stockard Channing, John Cleese

Box Office Info:
Budget: $36 millionFinanced by: Mutual Film Company; BBC; Tele München; Toho
Domestic Box Office: $2,962,465Overseas Box Office: $40,831

The budget for Isn’t She Great was $36 million and the backing was put together by the Mutual Film Company, which had three foreign investors that would also distribute Mutual’s products — BBC (U.K.), Tele München (Germany) and Toho (Japan).  Mutual also handled sales to distributors in other markets.  Universal was onboard for domestic distribution.  As this Bette Midler vehicle about the life of Jacqueline Susann was in active development, Hollywood had a brief flirtation with resurrecting Susann and her work.  FOX was attempting to move forward with a remake of Valley Of The Dolls (which never materialized) and the USA network fast tracked a TV movie Scandalous Me: The Jacqueline Susann Story.

Universal originally planned on a release in 1999, but the picture was pushed into the January dumping ground on January 28, trying to court older femme auds not interested in the Super Bowl.  Isn’t She Great was savaged by critics and mostly proclaimed a disaster.  It opened against the stinker Eye of the Beholder and Universal booked it into only 750 theaters, where it was dead on arrival with $1,368,705 — placing #17 for the slowest weekend in three years led by Eye Of The Beholder.  Isn’t She Great sank 52.3% to $652,445 the following weekend and promptly lost most of its theater count.  It was pulled from release after only four weeks with an awful $2,962,465.

The recorded offshore cume was just $40,831 and it was dumped straight to video in most overseas markets.  Isn’t She Great was the last studio vehicle built around Bette Midler, who had been offscreen since the bomb That Old Feeling (1997).  She was apart of the ensemble cast of the poorly performing Drowning Mona released just one month later.

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  1. Why bother seeing the 2000 remake for Universal International with Bette Midler when you can watched Valley of the Dolls, the 1967 current box office bonanza hit with Barbara Parkins, Sharon Tate, Patty Duke, Lee Grant and Susan Hayward under Mark Robson’s sheer top-notch production and direction for Disney. Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls made an whole lot more money at the box office than most other movies did. The film was Oscar nominated for best adapted score in 1968 and it was the first of many for John Williams. After a series of flops, only Valley of the Dolls put Disney back on the box office and became one of the highest grossing hits for the studio, like The Lion King, Speed and True Lies all three in 1994. Stick with the original that really stays with you.

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