How hungry were audiences for new films? Well, judging by the performance of the three national debuts over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend, voracious.
Buena Vista’s “Alive,” Columbia’s “Nowhere to Run” and MGM’s “Body of Evidence” all crashed into the top five, each projecting grosses for the four-day weekend of better than $ 7 million and as high as $ 8.7 million.
That should keep grosses for the top 10 films in the range of last year’s sensational $ 67.4 million.
However, none of the interlopers was able to dislodge the dynamic duo of “Aladdin” and “A Few Good Men,” which have been playing seesaw with the No. 1 slot.
Weekend honors will probably fall to “Aladdin” with totals in the mid-$ 10 million range to as high as $ 11 million on 2,331 screens, propelling the spirited animated pic to just under $ 140 million to date.
Columbia/Castle Rock’s “A Few Good Men” marched past $ 100 million yesterday in its 38th day of release, making it the 10th film released in 1992 to do so.
Warners’ “The Bodyguard” was just ahead of it, entering the $ 100 million club on Saturday in its 53rd day of release.
With between $ 9.3 million and $ 10 million projected for the weekend on 2, 146 screens, “Men” should finish the holiday with more than $ 102 million. “Bodyguard” is expected to come in somewhere between $ 5 million to $ 5.3 million, ending up with a $ 102.5 million total to date.
The three newcomers at least got off on the right foot–though how sure that footing is won’t be evident for the next week or two.
BV’s “Alive” may squeak into third based on estimates of between $ 8.4 million and $ 8.7 million in its first four days on 1,132 screens–easily capturing per-screen average honors (about $ 7,500 a theater). Though pic has no B.O. names and a rather unpalatable storyline, studio distribution head Richard Cook says it’s playing to a broad audience cross-section favoring twenty-something crowd. Action aficionados are likely to give Jean Claude Van Damme’s “Nowhere to Run” a swift kick to $ 8 million or more over four days on 1 ,745 screens, bettering his last effort, “Double Impact,” which started with $ 7 .5 million, says Columbia’s Jeff Blake.
There obviously were enough people left over who have not seen Madonna naked to give MGM its first resonant debut in recent memory. Opening broad on 2,052 screens, kinky thriller “Body of Evidence” could get a $ 7 million or so start.
“Scent of a Woman” is settling in to a profitable run with second wide-release weekend comparable to the first with $ 6.2 million to $ 6.5 million on 1,211 screens and around $ 17 million to date.
U’s platforming “Lorenzo’s Oil” dripped into 102 theaters over the weekend, picking up about $ 700,000, considered good for such a tough sell.
WB’s “Forever Young” and Fox’s “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” are vying for eighth position with totals in the high $ 4 million to the low $ 5 million range. “Forever,” now on 1,625 screens, should land at around $ 46 million by Tuesday when “Home 2,” down to 1,777 theaters, should have counted over $ 157 million.
In 10th place is TriStar’s little tramp “Chaplin,” with about $ 2 million or thereabouts on 1,088 screens and a pallid total to date of under $ 9 million.
Miramax’s “The Crying Game” doesn’t seem to be hurting from gossips itchily unmasking its plot twists. On a mere 171 screens, “Crying” is laughing it up with a projected $ 1.6 million for the four day weekend and an impressive total to date of more than $ 8 million.
Due to the holiday, final totals will not be printed until Wednesday, Jan. 20 .