Would you spend $ 1 million for a night with Demi Moore?
Well, about 4 million North Americans chipped in and collected more than $ 25 million toward Paramount’s “Indecent Proposal.” The film left all others in the marketplace choking on the dust created by the stampede to the box office, including Fox’s $ 5 million-plus opening on the second-place ranked tyke baseball yarn “The Sandlot,” Universal’s “Cop and a Half” ($ 4.7 million), Disney’s “The Adventures of Huck Finn” ($ 4.4 million) and New Line’s “Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles III: The Turtles Are Back … in Time” ($ 3 million).
“We had terrific awareness that has built steadily,” said Paramount Motion Picture Group prez Barry London. “What we’re seeing here is the effect of a product-driven marketplace. When you have a viable picture there is no such thing as an off-time release.”
Industry tracking had indicated a five-day gross in the $ 18 million-to-$ 19 million range prior to the “Indecent” opening. It handily has taken hold of the 1993 crown for best opening weekend. And, when the dust settles, it could also weigh in as the 11th best opener ever.
“It’s definitely a film which provokes debate,” said a rival studio executive. “Any time you have a film that asks a question like ‘Would you … ?’ , that hits a nerve in society, should mean enormous audience potential. The only way to be a part of the discussion — to make a decision — is to see the film.”
“Indecent Proposal” premiered Wednesday to $ 2.9 million, an industry non-sequel, non-summer record. Thursday jumped to $ 3.2 million, Friday doubled to $ 6.5 million and on Saturday it was one of the few films registering a significant jump with receipts of $ 7.2 million. For the weekend, the studio was estimating $ 18.7 million and a five-day of $ 25 million. That translates to weekend averages of $ 11,180 from 1,672 hard-working prints.
Unfortunately, one film alone cannot carry the entire box office. A collective lackluster field meant that while business from the previous weekend rose 13%, it was also down 4% from the comparable weekend of 1992 when Columbia’s “Sleepwalkers” debuted at the head of the pack with $ 10 million.
Fox’s “The Sandlot” failed to show signs of true grit with a second-place, $ 5 million weekend. The baseball pic opened in 1,771 stadiums but averaged just $ 2,820.
Universal’s second weekend of “Cop and a Half” was third with an estimated $ 4.7 million. Off 22% for the frame, the film posted averages of $ 2,630 from 1, 786 precincts. After 10 days of release, it has a cume of $ 13.1 million.
Walt Disney’s “The Adventures of Huck Finn” was running close to “Cop,” with the studio conservatively projecting $ 4.4 million. The Twain pic met with averages of $ 2,440 from a raft of 1,803 playdates. Its cume stands at $ 11.7 million.
New Line’s “Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles III: The Turtles Are Back … in Time” was a shell-shocked fifth at about $ 3 million, down 34% in its fourth weekend. Slow and sure in 2,087 dates, it averaged $ 1,440, for $ 34 million to date.
Interestingly, the second through fifth films in release were family-oriented. Collectively they grossed about $ 17 million, not quite up to “Indecent Proposal.”
However, a few post-teens opted for Warner Bros./Morgan Creek’s “The Crush,” placing it sixth with $ 2.5 million, down 50% in the second round with $ 1,420 averages at 1,759 sites, for $ 9.1 million to date.
Warner Bros. also ranked seventh with “Point of No Return” estimated at $ 2.2 million. The thriller dipped 38% for the weekend with $ 1,620 averages from 1, 356 sites. It has a cume of $ 23.8 million.
Warner Bros. platformed “This Boy’s Life” in exclusive dates in L.A., NYC and Toronto, for an opening gross of about $ 78,000, with averages of $ 26,000.
Less buoyant was Fine Line’s limited debut “Bodies, Rest & Motion,” which drew $ 86,000 from six screens. The quirky modern romance got a respectable start with averages of roughly $ 14,330.
Miramax’s “The Crying Game” nudged out WB’s “Unforgiven” to claim eighth with an estimated $ 2.1 million. Down 23% for the three days, it averaged $ 2,280 from 921 playdates. Its cume is $ 54.2 million.
A trot behind in ninth with $ 2 million was “Unforgiven.” Also off the pace by 23%, it posted averages of $ 2,120 from 945 saloons, bringing its cume to $ 88.9 million.
No. 10, BV’s “Born Yesterday,” had $ 1.9 million, down 48% with $ 1,530 per its 1,243 dates. Cume is $ 14 million after three weekends.