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Feb. B.O. climbs 9% from ’93

Wind, sleet and snow couldn’t dampen the February box office as domestic grosses took off the seasonal chill with revenues of $ 363.9 million. It represented a 9% boost from one year earlier but lagged about 3.5% behind record 1991 business of $ 376 million.

Warner Bros. — last month’s bridesmaid — leapt to the fore and cornered roughly a quarter of the marketplace for the best monthly share. Revenue from “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” the top individual performer, comprised almost half of the studio’s $ 92.6 million take. Also finishing among the top 10 performers from WB were fifth-ranked “On Deadly Ground” and the continuing run of “Grumpy Old Men,” which placed ninth.

Midrange earners rather than juggernauts fueled the month, and a steady flow of product contributed to respective second- and third-place spots for Universal and Buena Vista. The ongoing strength of Fox’s “Mrs. Doubtfire” and TriStar’s “Philadelphia” brought those companies improved market shares from 1993.

Buena Vista led the February field in both 1993 and 1992, while Warner Bros., which had slow starts both years, ranked third and fourth. The smaller indie companies continued to garner about 4% of the arena.

Actual ticket sales rose from last year by some 6% to approximately 80.2 million. A spectrum of product aimed at a wide demographic is credited for the increase. The general consensus, from exhibition and distribution sources polled , is that the month’s product would have been even more impressive had it not run into crippling weather in key markets and some serious damage inflicted by housebound Olympic couch potatoes.

The month’s top individual titles (in descending order) were: Warner Bros.’ “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” Fox’s “Mrs. Doubtfire,” Universal’s “Schindler’s List,” TriStar’s “Philadelphia,” Warner Bros.’ “On Deadly Ground,” Buena Vista’s “My Father, the Hero,” Buena Vista’s “Blank Check,” Paramount’s “Blue Chips,” Warner Bros.’ “Grumpy Old Men,” Universal’s “The Getaway.”

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