The comedy, made for a mere $25 million, had raked in close to $200 million in the domestic market by early 1999 and the cash registers are still ringing overseas and in video stores.
"We expected it to be a big hit," says Mr. Harper, 44. "We knew that this [was] a picture the audience was going to love."
Key to the marketing push behind "There's Something About Mary" was Mr. Harper's increased number of sneak previews-including rare midweek previews-to generate a positive buzz.
"We did everything we could to attract the word of mouth," he says.
Mr. Harper says that because of the sneak previews, "it required us to be on the air and in the newspapers earlier than we normally would" with a new film.
"From the perspective of the Fox marketing machine, we are ecstatic when we have something like this to work with. Ultimately, it sold itself. It is an