Freshman entries passed the B.O. test, as TriStar’s “Guarding Tess” topped the weekend charts with $ 7.1 million. Savoy’s “Lightning Jack” was right behind in second with $ 5.4 million, while Touchstone’s “The Ref” collared the fourth spot with about $ 3.1 million.
The TriStar team proved once again its ability to open product with the release of “Guarding Tess.” Securing $ 7.1 million for its first frame, the comedy ofmanners launched in 1,601 safe houses. That produced a solid $ 4,430 average and an extremely encouraging 45% boost from Friday to Saturday.
Not as fast on the draw as “‘Crocodile’ Dundee” or its sequel, Savoy’s “Lightning Jack” still managed to capitalize on Paul Hogan’s allure with a sec-ond-place $ 5.4 million. The shaggy-dog Western roped a $ 3,160 average from 1,710 OK corrals.
“Jack” had been tracking young and male, so when it jumped 53% on Saturday, the corks popped at Savoy. Company distribution chief Jim Spitz said that, despite strong tests, weak tracking and dour reviews had raised the anxiety level considerably before the film’s debut.
Warner Bros.’ indefatigable comedy “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” nosed into third with a $ 4 million weekend. The unchallenged seasonal B.O. champ dipped a modest 22% in its reign at 1,810 kennels. That unleashed a $ 2,210 average, bringing its cume to $ 57.8 million.
Unusually high overall ticket sales are diminishing the sting of a paucity of revenue juggernauts. Few titles are maintaining even a $ 2,000 average after their second weekends. The situation should turn around in the next frame with the release of Paramount’s “The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult” and Universal’s “The Paper.”
Box office experienced a minor 7% erosion from last weekend, but surged ahead 15% from the comparable weekend of 1993. With about $ 930 million through the weekend already in the till, revenues are at a record pace. The possibility of breaking the first billion next weekend remains strong and could translate into a $ 5.3 billion year. But a lot can happen in the upcoming nine months.
Touchstone’s “The Ref” preemed with a tidy $ 3.1 million in a medium-sized 701 location launch, for a $ 4,420 average. However, the comedy experienced Friday-to-Saturday bump of just 39%. Stepping out with an average comparable to “Tess”– but on 45% fewer playdates — should also fray nerves.
In exclusive debuts, it was Warner Bros.’ “The Hudsucker Proxy” vs. Gramercy’s “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” with the latter slightly in front. The offbeat, comic “Hudsucker” stepped out on five screens to finish the weekend with a tad more than $ 100,000 and a $ 20,800 average. “Four Weddings” had the gift, earning about $ 135,000 from five sites for an average of $ 27,300. The Wednesday opener entered the weekend with an additional $ 37,000.
Also in limited, Miramax’s arty/erotic “Sirens” expanded from two to 24 dates , producing a $ 250,000 weekend. Frame average was $ 10,400 for a $ 315,000 10 -day cume.
Universal’s Oskar fave, “Schindler’s List,” was fifth with $ 3 million. Approaching its Academy date, the searing drama slipped a mere 7%, for a $ 3,740 average in 803 playdates. The film has a cume of $ 54.5 million.
Other Oscar contenders continue to chug toward next Monday, with Universal’s “In the Name of the Father” 32% off the pace, Miramax’s “The Piano” dipping 40% and Columbia’s “The Remains of the Day” fading 42%.
U’s “Greedy” nipped into sixth with $ 2.7 million, dipping 44%. The pic is tarnishing quickly, minting a $ 1,560 average from 1,731 deposit boxes. Its 10 -day cume is $ 8.8 million.
A sliver behind in seventh — also with about $ 2.7 million — was Warner Bros.’ not quite eco-correct thriller “On Deadly Ground.” The Seagal actioner went downstream 40% for a $ 1,450 average from 1,860 tankers. The picture has grossed $ 31.7 million.
An 8 for ‘Angie’
Hollywood Pictures’ “Angie” added about 350 dates and finished eighth with $ 2.3 million. The strategy for the slice-of-life tale produced a modest 17% drop, but a tame $ 1,970 average. Its 1,169 playdates have generated $ 6 million in 10 days.
Fox was still sweeping hard with ninth-place “Mrs. Doubtfire” in for another $ 2.1 million. Pic slipped 20% with a neat $ 1,440 average from 1,454 sites in its 16th weekend. With $ 203.3 million to date, it should surpass “Terminator 2: Judgment Day’s”$ 204.8 million next weekend to rank 15th among all-time domestic grossers.
Beacon’s “Sugar Hill” via Fox nailed down 10th with about $ 2 million. The intense action-drama fell 42%, but its limited exposure produced a $ 2,520 average. In 792 houses, its cume has risen to $ 13.4 million.