“Lost in Space” opened on just over 3,300 screens, with that number representing a record at the time. This is to say, expectations were sky-high. New Line released the movie in the pre-summer window on April 3, 1998, more than three months after “Titanic” initially hit theaters in December of ’97. And yet, for that entire time, it remained the top film at the box office, while big movies like “As Good as it Gets,” “U.S. Marshals,” “The Man in the Iron Mask,” “The Wedding Singer,” and many others failed to take the crown away. But come Monday, April 6, 1998, the streak would finally, officially come to an end.
In its opening weekend, “Lost in Space” made $20.1 million, which was more than enough to sink “Titanic,” which fell to $11.5 million in its 16th weekend. Nobody was crying for James Cameron though, as his film earned more than $1.8 billion in its original run, and has since topped $2.19 billion through its various re-releases. Even so, against very poor reviews from critics at the time, Stephen Hopkins’ take on this classic series generated enough interest from moviegoers to become the first new no. 1 movie in the U.S. in nearly four months.
Unfortunately, those negative reviews and poor word of mouth would doom the film in the coming weeks. It topped out at $69.1 million domestically, with an equally poor $67 million internationally for $136.1 million worldwide. That was not nearly enough to justify the budget and, moreover, wasn’t enough to warrant all the toys, books, and everything else the studio had planned. The horse never caught up to the cart, and this became a dead-in-the-water, one-and-done. Albeit, one that has its place in the history books.