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'Spy Kids' May Be a Miramax Money Machine

April 10, 2001|RICHARD NATALE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Hit family films such as "Spy Kids" are Hollywood's Eldorado, fueling out-sized home video and merchandise sales that can add up to record profits.

Miramax/Dimension's "Spy Kids" is expected to ring up U.S. box office receipts close to $100 million, making its home video and DVD potential huge when it is released by parent Walt Disney Co. The stronger family film titles can sell up to 1 million units for every $10 million grossed at the box office.

"Spy Kids," which cost only $35 million to make, could cover both its production and marketing costs from worldwide home video and DVD alone, meaning all other revenue would be pure profit. Like many family titles, it could become a perennial, continuing to sell well for years to come.

In addition, "Spy Kids" should perform well overseas as many Disney family titles gross more internationally than domestically. For instance, last year's "102 Dalmatians" grossed less than $70 million in the U.S. but did more than $100 million in foreign theaters.

"Spy Kids" also will bring in revenue from cable, network TV (it's already been sold to Fox, which reportedly made a deal with Miramax to pay about 15% of the film's worldwide box office) and worldwide television syndication.

With a sequel already in the works, "Spy Kids" could try to capitalize on merchandising with the next film.

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