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‘Oil’ afire among exclusive pix in Gotham, L.A.

Universal’s “Lorenzo’s Oil” opened just before year’s end to pump new life into regional releases, as the holiday helped some exclusive pictures more than double their take at the box office.

The Nick Nolte-Susan Sarandon picture opened well on both coasts, notably totalling $ 60,870 in its first five days at New York’s First & 62nd St. Sixplex.

Same site hosted Universal’s “Scent of a Woman” which did even better, grabbing $ 78,569 in its second five days there. The Al Pacino starrer goes wide Jan. 8 after earning more than $ 120,000 in three Los Angeles theaters during the same time frame.

After six weeks of exclusive play in Gotham, Aries’ controversial “Bad Lieutenant” hit the West Coast with a house record-setting $ 26,939 weekend at San Francisco’s Gateway and a near-record $ 34,492 first four days at Los Angeles’ Nuart.

For some new films the New Year’s period percentage increases weren’t as striking simply because the pictures had already started out so well. Such was the case for two French imports: Sony Pictures Classics’ “Indochine” took $ 23, 668 on the West Coast and $ 37,401 in New York in its second exclusive weekend. New Line’s “Damage” (British co-prod) hit $ 112,285 in its second five days at three Manhattan sites while earning $ 57,205 in the same time playing solo in L.A.

The following are actual grosses for films in exclusive release for the three-day period in Los Angeles and New York.

Los Angeles

“Lorenzo’s Oil” (Universal) quality $ 25,129 first four days at AMC Century 14.

“Bad Lieutenant” (Aries) $ 34,492 first 4 days at Landmark Nuart.

“Indochine” (Sony Pictures Classics) increased 21% to $ 23,668 in second weekend at Laemmle Royal.

“Scent of a Woman” (Universal) up 51% in second five days at Cineplex Universal City 18 to $ 62,364; up 36% in second five days at Mann Plaza to $ 32, 318; up 9% to $ 26,273 in four days at AMC Century 14.

“Chaplin” (TriStar) moved up 31% in second weekend at AMC Santa Monica 7 to $ 18,515; but was down 14% in two days at AMC Century 14 to $ 16,076 after big $ 52,650 opening frame.

“Peter’s Friends” (Goldwyn) appreciated 34% to $ 11,492 in second weekend at Landmark Goldwyn Pavilion; up 11% to $ 11,755 in second weekend at Cineplex Broadway; and rose 20% to $ 15,700 in second weekend at Cineplex Beverly Center.

“Tous les Matins du Monde” (October Films) uptick of 9% to $ 13,907 in second six days at Landmark Goldwyn Pavilion; increased 2% to $ 11,390 in same time frame at Laemmle Sunset 5.

“Damage” (New Line) socko 20% increase to $ 57,205 in second five days at Laemmle Music Hall.

“Passion Fish” (Miramax) climbed amazing 130% to $ 6,021 in second weekend at Laemmle Monica after $ 4,513 full first frame; and zoomed 53% to $ 7,383 in third weekend at Laemmle Sunset 5 after $ 6,413 second full week.

“The Player” (Fine Line) (reissue) skyrocketed 59% in second weekend at Laemmle Monica to $ 4,179 after $ 4,322 first week; and up a big 51% to $ 3,591 in second weekend at Laemmle Sunset 5 after $ 4,675 in first reissue frame.

“Enchanted April” (Miramax) helped by awards to 111% increase in 9th weekend at Landmark Nuwilshire for $ 8,601 after $ 9,486 full eighth frame.

“Flirting” (Goldwyn) went up another 57% (after 53% rise the weekend before) to $ 3,162 in seventh weekend at Cineplex Beverly Center after $ 4,091 full sixth inning; and increased 73% in second six-day period at Landmark Nuwilshire to $ 5,499 after $ 3,663 debut.

“Howards End” (Sony Pictures Classics) improved 53% to $ 6,899 in ninth weekend at Laemmle Sunset 5 after $ 8,031 in eighth week; and up 23% to $ 1,971 in second weekend at Landmark Goldwyn Pavilion after $ 3,465 first there.

“The Quarrel” (RKO) imporved 7% to $ 5,408 in sixth five-day period at Laemmle Sunset 5.

“Venice, Venice” (Rainbow) inched up 13% to $ 1,294 in second Laemmle Monica weekend.

New York

“Lorenzo’s Oil” opened with powerful $ 60,870 in first five days exclusively at three screens of First & 62nd St. Sixplex.

“The Crying Game” (Miramax) rode critical laurels to 49% improvement in second five days at Sutton twin for $ 52,340; improved 17% to big $ 68,929 in same time frame of sixth week at Angelika Film Center (two screens); and up 14% on three Lincoln Plaza screens for $ 66,410 in third five days.

“Damage” up 34% to $ 36,551 in second five days at 57th St. Playhouse; rose to $ 38,986 in second week at Village Sevenplex after $ 46,378 opener; and hotsy 17% boost in second five days at Cinema 2 to $ 36,745.

“Scent of a Woman” poised for wide release with 16% improvement in second five days at two screens of First & 62nd St. Sixplex for $ 78,569 after $ 95,175 first full week.

“Indochine” rose 9% to $ 37,401 in second four days at Lincoln Plaza (two screens) after $ 57,135 debut.

“Tous les Matins du Monde” up 14% to $ 19,686 in eighth weekend at Lincoln Plaza; and 27% rise to $ 12,364 in second Quad weekend.

“Chaplin” zoomed 68% to $ 22,529 in second weekend at Gemini after $ 24,181 bow; increased 58% to $ 21,915 in same at 19th St. East after $ 27,481 opener; and up 49% to $ 24,693 in second weekend at 84th St. Sixplex after $ 31,006 debut.

“Enchanted April” improved an incredible 189% to $ 9,151 in second weekend at Worldwide after $ 8,904 first week there; and rose 49% in 23rd weekend at Angelika Film Center after $ 12,158 in 22nd.

“Peter’s Friends” nice 22% climb in second weekend at Carnegie Hall Cinema’s two screens for $ 21,871; plus 30% rise in second weekend at Angelika Film Center (two screens worth) to $ 29,957.

“Howards End” found Emma Thompson’s critical victories a help to 144% increase at Cinema 3 for $ 9,512 in 10th weekend after $ 10,508 full ninth week; 120% climb to $ 11,070 in 10th weekend at Village East after $ 11,653 in full ninth; and saw 113% rise to $ 2,577 in 10th weekend at Metro after $ 2,849 ninth frame.

“Passion Fish” bumped up a powerful 50% to $ 27,842 in third full week at 68 th St. Playhouse.

“Bad Lieutenant” up 53% in second five days at Embassy 2,3 and 4 to $ 8,698 after $ 8,774 first full frame there; improved 145% to $ 4,842 in seventh weekend at Cinema 3rd Avenue after $ 4,046 full sixth; and rose 47% to $ 17,107 in seventh weekend at Angelika Film Center after $ 23,913 in sixth week.

“Reservoir Dogs” (Miramax) improved 58% to $ 8,055 in sixth five-day period at Plaza after $ 7,805 full fifth session; and entered Quad for fine $ 7,792 first weekend.

“The Lover” (MGM/UA) up satisfying 41% in 10th weekend at Paris Fine Arts for $ 26,496 after $ 40,566 in ninth week Manhattan exclusive there.

“Flirting” up amazing 116% (after 133% week before) to $ 10,066 in sixth five-day period at Gramercy after $ 6,665 in fifth full week.

“The Player” moved up 43% to $ 5,243 in second weekend at Village East after $ 7,124 first try; up 75% to $ 1,982 in second two days at Worldwide after $ 3, 852 debut.

“The Match Factory Girl” (Kino) monster 105% increase to $ 7,707 in second Quad weekend after $ 9,085 debut week.

“Intervista” (Castle Hill) improved 39% to $ 5,528 in second Quad weekend.

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