‘Fugitive’ leaves competish in dust

Warner Bros.’ “The Fugitive” ran away from its competition over the Labor Day weekend, as the film proved its legs by earning more than three times as much as its nearest competitor.

With a cumulative four-day weekend take of $ 17,239,413, the action remake of the television classic headed a one-two combination for Warner Bros., which also had the No. 2 finisher in the $ 5,473,206 grosser “The Man Without a Face.”

Mel Gibson’s directorial debut expanded by 200 screens for the September holiday to reach a total of $ 12.4 million over 13 days.

Beyond outpacing its competition, “The Fugitive” also stalked history over Labor Day, passingsuch pix as “An Officer and a Gentleman” and “The Silence of the Lambs” to rank 48th among the top all-time grossers.

At the close of the wicket Monday, “The Fugitive” had taken in $ 133.7 million and was just $ 28,000 away from “The Godfather” on the list of top takers.

Also moving up the all-timecharts were “Jurassic Park” and “The Firm.” With a Labor Day gross of $ 4,103,900, and $ 316.6 million overall, Universal’s “Jurassic Park” continued to draw closer to the $ 322 million grosser “Star Wars” in its bid to become the No. 2 pic on the all-time chart behind “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.””The Firm” steamed into 35th place with $ 150 million overall.

“The Fugitive,””Jurassic Park” and “The Firm” contributed mightily to what shaped up as a strong final summer weekend of 1993, as the top 10 movies grossed $ 52.1 million. By contrast, the top 10 movies of 1992 grossed just $ 38 million , and the solid but unspectacular “Honeymoon in Vegas” sat at the top with a $ 9 ,170,428 gross. In 1991, the top 10 movies checked in with $ 41.5 million.

Several new movies were injected into the marketplace over the weekend, as distributors looked for momentum of the summer to carry over into fall.

Miramax Films’ ambitious release of the Christopher Lambert actioner “Fortress” paid off with a sixth-position debut and $ 4,040,711 on 1,204 screens , while Columbia Pictures’ Jason Priestley starrer “Calendar Girl” charted in 14 th position with $ 1,802,688 on 1,082 screens.

Steven Soderbergh’s “King of the Hill” climbed to the top of the heap among limited engagements, as the Gramercy Pictures release delivered $ 96,689 on six screens for a per-screen average of $ 16,115.

The best per-screen among the mainline debut pictures was Jennifer Lynch’s directorial bow, “Boxing Helena,” which delivered an average of $ 4,893 on 161 screens for a cumulative total of $ 787,724. No doubt teens were the audience segment most drawn to Orion Classics’ whisper advertising campaign, which emphasizes the movie’s twisted premise.

Those seeking solitude over the weekend would have been well advised to attend “Son of the Pink Panther,” which averaged a sparse $ 622 per screen in 983 situations for $ 611,615. With a cumulative gross of $ 2,215,980 over 11 days, some wonder whether MGM/UA may have killed the once-lucrative Peter Sellers franchise.

Director Woody Allen’s newest continued to show some unexpected zip in movie houses, as “Manhattan Murder Mystery” widened by 64 screens and grossed $ 2,031, 099 in 337 situations.

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