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B.O. Back On Track Despite War

The Persian Gulf war’s effect on the cinema trade is not nearly as severe as many feared, and, perhaps surprisingly, the attrition does not directly correspond with proximity to the combat zone.

Biz has held steady in Egypt, Cyprus and Turkey after a “slight hiccup” when the conflict began, United Intl. Pictures reported last week. The Turks, for example, are turning out in sizable numbers to see “Home Alone,” “Ghost” and “Another 48 HRS.”

But Athens b.o. fell to the cellar as bombs exploded, schools and foreign businesses closed and folks were warned to stay out of the city center after several weeks of civil unrest. Some Greek distribs are dubious about attending the American Film Market in Los Angeles and the Berlin film fest. “I’m probably safer in L.A. than Athens, but traveling there may not be as safe,” said Pandelis Mitropoulos of Prooptiki.

In Italy, b.o. plunged nearly 50% in the week ended Jan. 20. Top 10 titles in the key cities grossed about $6.3 million, compared with the previous frame’s $9.4 million. Record ratings for tv newcasts (RAI-1’s Jan. 16 evening broadcast scored the highest-ever share, 82%) eloquently pointed to the nation’s preoccupation.

So 20th Century Fox’ “Home Alone” did remarkably well to pull $672,685 in the first round at only 35 theaters as its overseas gross reached $62.5 million.

Showing some sensitivity, or perhaps common sense combined with commercial judgment, Fox/CDI yanked “Navy Seals” and Penta put “Air America” on hold. But Italo distribs said they generally were sticking to their release plans and were optimistic that the b.o. downturn would be short-lived. “People won’t stay home and watch the news forever – they’ll want some comic relief,” said one.

UIP had plenty to celebrate as the international gross of Par’s “Ghost” marched up to $205,362,756 – expect it to surpass the domestic haul within the next week – and UA’s “Rocky V” hit $57.5 million.

Paris ticket sales declined about 20% – from 682,000 to 554,000 – but that may be more reflective of aging product. Still, WB might have wished it had launched “Memphis Belle,” Michael Caton-Jones’ yarn about U.S. bombing raids on Germany in World War II, at a more propitious time.

German trade stuttered as tension increased over the Middle East, despite which newcomer “Home Alone” garnered an excellent $4.9 million at 345 screens.

British biz last week was off by a whisker, inclining exhibs to conclude the war is having a marginal effect, if any. WB’s “The Rookie” was predictably dull in its debut on nearly 200 prints, and, in its second outing in Sweden, is fading fast.

In Spain, weekend attendance held well but weekday levels drooped about 25%, distribs estimated. WB’s “Arachnophobia” made a fair start and it’s showing quite firm legs in Scandinavia, Germany and the U.K.

Col Tri-StarV’Look Who’s Talking Too” had a nifty debut Down Under, 10% up on the original. That, plus solid numbers for “Kindergarten Cop” helped limit the week’s b.o. decline to a mere 5%, despite violent storms (including flooding, power blackouts and other disruption) in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

AMSTERDAM

For week ended Jan. 17; $1=1.71 guilders.

“Home Alone” (Fox/HFR). Slowed down to $30,989 from two houses in fourth holiday.

“The Witches” (WB/MPG). Magic $24,898 from two holes in fifth sabbath.

“The Sheltering Sky”(WB). Stable$22,989 from one oasis in seventh trip.

“Blue Steel” (MGM/MPG). Violent opening with $21,228 from one precinct.

“The Little Mermaid” (Disney/WB). Enchanting $19,375 from three islands in fourth recital.

“Flatliners” (Col). Bright $16,007 from two gates in seventh crossing.

“Ghost” (Par/UIP). Eternal $15,585 from one appearance in 14th cycle.

“Ju Dou” (Argus). Spicy $13,039 from two bowls in fifth serving.

“Air America” (Carolco/Concorde). Low first flight brings in $12,666 from one strip.

“Arachnophobia” (Hollywood Pictures/WB). Hairy $10,217 from one web in fifth hunt.

ATHENS

For week ended Jan. 17; $1=155 drachmas.

“Home Alone” (Fox). Held the fort in fourth round at 10 mansions for $99,884. Cumulative total $656,637.

“Days Of Thunder” (Par/UIP). Raced along in second event at eight tracks for $43,737. Cume $130,467.

“Cry-Baby” (Universal/UIP). No cause for tears in first rumble at four roadhouses for $26,411.

“Cyrano de Bergerac” (Sonet). Poetry in motion obscured the competition in second duel at one site for $13,216. Cume $29,736.

“Goodfellas” (WB). Took care of business in fifth job at two setups for $12,117. Cume $310,604.

“The Hot Spot” (Orion). Third assassination meant more lust in the dust at three lots for $5,406. Cume $63,362.

“The Little Mermaid” (Disney). Sank fast after fourth plunge to three ships for $3,493. Cume $59,711.

Indies not reported.

AUSTRALIA

For week ended Jan. 23; $A1=78 &cents;.

“Look Who’s Talking Too” (Tri-Star). Moppet mouths opened wide with $1,423,183 from 114.

“Kindergarten Cop” (Universal/UIP). Caught $1,304,099 at 96 classrooms in third. Cumulative total $4,898,313.

“Home Alone” (Fox). A kid held off the crooks for $1,212,838 from 122 mansions in sixth. Cume $7,266,905.

“Three Men And A Little Lady” (Touchstone). Charmed $700,321 on 101 in seventh. Cume $6,638,527.

“Ghost” (Par/UIP). The poltergeist paraded $585,104 on 103 in 13th. Cume $13,665,960.

“The Neverending Story II” (WB). Convincingly told $429,683 on 114 in fifth regaling. Cume $2,570,357.

“Predator 2” (Fox). Grabbed $392,923 in 79 in second lunge. Cume $1,141,409.

“Arachnophobia” (Hollywood Pictures/Roadshow). Scared up $325,675 in 49 barns in fourth. Cume $1,306,359.

“Ducktales: The Movie” (Disney). Crispy $280,881 from 96 frames in third strip. Cume $997,939.

“Total Recall” (Carolco/Tri-Star). Stretched $242,188 in the seventh inning on 71. Cume $5,274,821.

BRUSSELS

For week ended Jan. 15; $1=32BF.

“Home Alone” (Fox). Excellent fourth week with $71,645 on five screens.

“PrettyWoman” (Touchstone/WB). Strutted in seventh week with $66,000 on five screens.

“Ghost” (Par/UIP). In ninth, scared up $43,645 on five screens.

“LaDiscrete” (Cinelibre). Excellent third week with $34,290 on two screens.

“Short Time” (Independent). Clocked a good opening with $30,516 on two screens.

The Little Mermaid” (Disney/WB). Fathomed $29,70 in seventh dive on six screens.

“Uranus” (Belga). Modest fifth week with $28,967 on five screens.

“Navy Seals” (Orion/Col). Modest opening with $26,290 on four screens.

“The Sheltering Sky” (Independent). Arid in sixth week with $21,290 on three screens.

“Rocky V” (UA/UIP). Stood tall in fourth week with $20,290 on four screens.

“Narrow Margin” (Orion/Concorde). Opened modestly with $17,612 on two.

COPENHAGEN

For week ended Jan. 20; $1=5.9DK.

“Home Alone” (Fox). Excellent $40,081 in fifth via five houses. Cumulative total $318,582.

“Pacific Heights” (Fox). Fine second with $34,302 at four dwellings. Cume $61,503.

“Arachnophobia” (Hollywood Pictures/WB). Excellent debut with $20,219 via three webs.

“Nikita” (Dansk). Fine action with $19,388 via two in sixth. Cume $225,293.

“The Little Mermaid” (Disney/WB). Swam along with $17,692 in five shells in ninth. Cume $449,044.

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (New Line/UIP). Fair action with $15,636 on three in fourth. Cume $139,746.

“Desperate Hours” (Nordisk). Fair first with $14,000 in two.

“The Sheltering Sky” (WB). Excellent debut with $12,948 in one.

“Pretty Woman” (Touchstone/WB). Still active with $11,868 via two in 24th. Cume $1,476,934.

“Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!” (Metronome). Fair going with $11,023 in two in fourth. Cume $68,790.

GERMANY

For week ended Jan. 16; $=1.5DM.

“Werner – Beinhart” (Neue Constantin). Sluggish $1,583,333 in seventh week on 460 screens. Cumulative total $18,085,009.

“Arachnophobia” (Hollywood Pictures/WB). Promising bow fetched $1,178,065 at 147 outlets.

“The Little Mermaid” (Disney/WB). Eased in seventh frame to $1,112,141 at 435 units. Cume $14,758,986.

“Air America” (Carolco/Scotia). Disappointing $936,295 in 182-print launch.

“Presumed Innocent” (WB). Consistent $889,309 earned in fifth jury trial at 166 courthouses. Cume $4,670,915.

“Flatliners” (Col/Tri-Star). Tidy $749,371 in eighth run at 242 spots. Cume $8,541,927.

“Rocky V” (UA/UIP). Slack $616,282 in fourth round at 242 rings. Cume $5,970,160.

“Rama Dama” (Senator). Neat $561,532 on 110 screens in initial outing.

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (New Line). Mediocre $472,973 in fifth caper at 299 locations. Cume $4,371,856.

“Sibling Rivalry” (WB/Jugendfilm). Improved $370,023 in second at 75 places. Cume $578,934.

HELSINKI

For week ended Jan. 24; $1=3.6FM.

“Pacific Heights” (Fox/Finnkino). Excellent entry with $52,873 in two.

“Home Alone” (Fox/Finnkino). Did fine with $44,458 on two in fifth. Cumulative total $403,646.

“The Sheltering Sky” (WB). Marched on with $35,413 on one in second. Cume $85,567.

“Arachnophobia” (Hollywood Pictures/WB). Scared up $27,358 on twin in second. Cume $71,197.

“Navy Seals” (Orion/Finnkino). Successful invasion with $15,727 in one.

“Total Recall” (Carolco/Finnkino). Solid $11,375 on one in sixth. Cume $244,888.

“Memphis Belle” (WB). First flight did $11,241 in two.

“The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover” (Finnkino). Cooked up $11,231 in one kitchen in ninth. Cume $165,386.

“The Little Mermaid” (Disney/WB). Okay swimming with $10,124 in three in eight. Cume $218,875.

“Trop Belle Pour Toi” (Finnkino). Did okay with $9,237 on one in seventh. Cume $71,628.

ITALY

For week ended Jan. 20; $1=1,120 lire.

“The Sheltering Sky” (Penta). Brilliant $1,321,137 in sixth trek at 80. Cumulative gross $5,856,020.

“Nikita” (Penta). Edged to smart $845,683 in sixth chase at 46. Cume $2,439,305.

“Total Recall” (Carolco/Penta). Crashed to $688,769 in sixth exploit at 94. Cume $9,455,595.

“Home Aone” (Fox/CDI). Bowed at 29 mansions to feisty $627,860. Cume $627,860.

“Three Men And A Little Lady” (Disney/WB Italia). Cute $611,157 in fifth jaunt at 58. Cume $2,511,952.

“Christmas Vacation ’90” (Filmauro). Italo comedy shrank to $594,586 in fifth trip at 82. Cume $9,363,730.

“Tonight At Alice’s” (Penta). Munched $559,357 in fifth dinner at 64. Cume $6,051,438.

“The Little Mermaid” (Disney/WB Italia). Plummeted to $483,899 in seventh song at 80. Cume $12,321,515.

“Rocky V” (UA/UIP). Racked up $313,114 in fifth match at 50. Cume $8,685,462.

“Ghost” (Par/UIP). Haunted 25 in 11th with ephemeral $248,984. Cume $10,369,606.

LONDON

For week ended Jan. 24; £=$1.96.

“Cyrano de Bergerac” (Artificial Eye). Wow second at four with $235,104. Cumulative total $462,925.

“Reversal Of Fortune” (WB/Rank). Stylish $183,511 in second fanned out to eight screens. Cume $280,565.

“Arachnophobia” (Hollywood Pictures/WB). Third at seven sites took nice $136,667. Cume $507,799.

“The Rookie” (WB). Opened just oke with $109,611 at five theaters.

“The Sheltering Sky” (Palace). Brisk $102,047 eighth turn at six. Cume $909,183.

“Air America” (Carolco/Guild). Okay $98,559 third at four. Cume $359,312.

“Ghost” (Par/UIP). Excellent 16th lap with $82,781 via four screens. Cume $3,495,296.

“Home Alone” (Fox). Fairish $80,368 seventh at seven. Cume $1,002,499.

“The Nasty Girl” (Mainline). Lively $71,750 third at three arties. Cume $241,911.

“Hidden Agenda” (Hemdale/Enterprise). Light $46,109 second at five. Cume $114,217.

MADRID

For week ended Jan. 20; $1=95 pesetas.

“Home Alone” (Fox/M. Salvador). Still-buoyant $103,758 at six houses, fifth assault. Cumulative total $888,985.

“Flatliners” (Col). Excellent preem of $86,816 in first three days in four hardtops.

“Ghost” (Par/UIP). Fine $86,611 at five haunts, 12th appearance. Cume $2,020,902.

“The Sheltering Sky” (Iberoamericana/UIP). Steady $56,394 at six caravans, seventh crossing. Cume $643,336.

“Las Edades de Lulu” (Iberoamericana/UIP). Slow $45,795 at five in seventh. Cume $408,445.

“Arachnophobia” (Hollywood Pictures/WB). Spidery $44,764 in preem at five.

“Pretty Woman” (Touchstone/WB). Lovely $41,036 in one theater, 15th week. Cume (12 weeks) $2,075,665.

“Hardware” (Miramax/UIP). Soft preem with $32,793 at seven sites.

“The Little Mermaid” (Disney/WB). Okay $27,981 at two, seventh dip. Cume $893,982.

“Forever Mary” (Lauren). Fair preem with $26,026 at two theaters.

OSLO

For week ended Jan. 23; $1=5.9NK

“Home Alone” (Fox/KF). Played fair with $51,870 on three in seventh. Cumulative total $627,314.

“The Hot Spot” (Orion/KF). Excellent with $26,339 on two in fourth. Cume $96,684.

“Arachnophobia” (Hollywood Pictures/WB). Spinned $18,980 on one in fourth. Cume $142,929.

“The Little Mermaid” (Disney/WB). Dog-paddled for $17,868 on four in eighth. Cume $276,284.

“Young Guns II” (Fox/KF). Shot $15,981 on one in fourth. Cume $171,343.

“Air America” (Carolco/Syncron). Soared with $15,636 on two planes in fourth. Cume $116,765.

“Longtime Companion” (Goldwyn/Europa). Did good business with $13,589 on one in fourth. Cume $73,667.

“Auntie Danielle” (NFD). Fair business with $12,864 on one in fourth. Cume $62,440.

“Everybody’s fine” (KF). Poor doings with $10,993 on one in fourth. Cume $76,442.

“Come See The Paradise” (Fox/KF). Poor figures for war-drama with $9,916 on one in second. Cume $29,391.

PARIS

For week ended Jan. 22; $1=5.1FF.

“Flatliners” (Col/Tri-Star). In need of rejuvenation after $435,997 second at expanded 43 cellars from 75,172 corpses.

“Reversal Of Fortune” (WB/Ariane). Upbeat $255,640 in second coma from 44,076 nobles on 15 estates.

“Home Alone” (Fox). Fifth assault on 37 houses dipped to $196,666 from 33,908 attackers.

“Memphis Belle” (WB). Poor $194,079 first mission by 33,462 crews in 22 planes.

“Pretty Woman” (Touchstone/WB). Tramped to solid $182,410 in eighth outing by 31,450 beauties to 24.

“Uranus” (AMLF). Retreated to 25 sites in sixth accusation for middling $175,351 from 30,233 investigators.

“The Hot Spot” (Col). Debut blaze picked up lukewarm $168,930 from 29,126 firefighters.

“La Discrete” (Pan Europeenne). Plucky $143,248 in ninth spin by 24,698 girls at 18.

“Henry V” (AFMD). Victorious $132,228 in first gallop by 22,798 royals across eight battlefields.

“Jacob’s Ladder” (Tri-Star/AMLF). Sad $122,177 in first remembrance by 21,065 veterans at 26.

STOCKHOLM

For week ended Jan. 24, $1=5.7SK.

“Home Alone” (Fox/SF). Good housing with $60,175 on three in sixth. Cume $501,052.

“Pacific Heights” (Fox/SF). Entered with good $48,421 on two.

“The Rookie” (WB). Good action with $47,543 via two in second. Cumulative total $126,315.

“The Little Mermaid” (Disney/WB). Continued to shine with $44,571 on seven in eighth. Cume $737,368.

“Memphis Belle” (WB). Fair on first flight with $42,105 via two.

“Macken” (SF). Local comedy feeble with $38,596 on three in fifth. Cume $418,245.

“Cyrano de Bergerac” (Sonet). Fenced for $28,245 on one in seventh. Cume $255,964.

“Three Men And A Little Lady” (Touchstone/WB). Poor parenting with $28,245 on three in seventh. Cume $433,684.

“The Sheltering Sky”(WB). Sandy $26,140 on one in fifth. Cume $191,228.

“Trop Belle Pour Toi” (Sonet). Fair seduction with $22,807 on one in fifth. Cume $114,210.

TOKYO

For week ended Jan. 17;$1=132 yen.

“Pretty Woman” (Touchstone/WB). Snared $863,575 in sixth week at a half dozen situations. Cumulative total $4,826,436.

“Total Recall” (Carolco/Toho-Towa). Slipped to second rung with $666,334 in seventh week at six sites. Cume $6,331,222.

“Ghost” (Par/UIP). Bounced to third spot with $280,537 in 16th week at just two spots. Cume $9,599,866.

“The Neverending Story II” (WB). Dropped to $259,388 in fifth frame at four theaters. Cume $2,834,327.

“Chibimaruko-chan” (Toho). Japanese animation outing took in $253,001 in fifth round at five situations. Cume $1,520,611.

“Nikita” (Nippon Herald). Yielded $247,055 in first six days at three spots.

“Dick Tracy” (Touchstone/WB). Flaccid $232,642 in fifth frame at four spots. Cume $1,461,296.

“Rocky V” (UA/UIP). Down to $211,790 in sixth round at six situations. Cume $3,103,011.

“Best Guy” (Toei). Japanese-language “Top Gun” clone collected $199,065 in fifth sortie at four sites. Cume $1,039,223.

“Dai Yukai” (Toho). Japanese-language comedy thriller opened to $108,284 in three days.

ZURICH

For week ended Jan. 3; $1=1.28SF.

The Little Mermaid” (Disney/WB). Fifth dive at two oceans sensational $116,338. Cumulative total $407,254.

“Home Alone” (Fox). Fabulous $115,704 in second at three homes. Cume $191,206.

“Ghost” (Par/UIP). Ninth appearance at three haunts brought nice $49,603. Cume $445,026.

“Presumed Innocent” (WB). Fifth interrogation at one witness stand delivered impressive $48,890. Cume $256,970.

“Ju Dou” (Filmcooperative Zurich). Chinese import rendered excellent $25,780 in second at one. Cume $46,592.

“Little Dorrit” (Rialto-Film Zurich). Dickens marathon showed astounding $22,008 in third reading at one mansion. Cume $44,028.

‘The Sheltering Sky” (Concorde/Monopole Pathe Films Zurich). Sixth caravan at one desert acceptable $20,320. Cume $158,796.

“Rocky V” (UA/UIP). Second round at one ring mediocre $19,674. Cume $66,083.

“Flatliners” (Col/Fox). Healthy $17,464 in sixth coma at one hospital. Cume $146,127.

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (New Line/Elite-Film Zurich). Poor $15,377 in fifth at one. Cume $116,059.

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