‘Dumber’ Still Holds No.1 Spot At B.O.

There wasn’t a lot of change in the general box office picture (or the popular titles) entering the first full week of 1995. New Line’s “Dumb and Dumber” and Warner Bros.’ “Disclosure” again led the field. Both titles were down a not unexpected 35% from the New Year’s weekend.

Buena Vista’s “Houseguest” was the sole new wide release and had a very decent debut of $7.1 million, for a $5,745 average. Columbia got the jump on last weekend with a Jan. 11 preem of John Singleton’s “Higher Learning” and went to the head of the class with a two day cume of $3.7 million.

However, for those expecting continued B.O. consistency, there’s going to be major disappointment. While none of the films due for release in the next few weeks show the potential to take off in the manner of 1992’s “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle,” the sheer volume of new releases is likely to drain revenues from the holdovers.

“Houseguest,” was naturally seen as a direct threat to “Dumb,” as their brand of humor and tracking on core appeal were virtual carbon copies. As the dice rolled, it appeared to have no appreciable effect on the New Line idiot’s delight.

Opening in the next two weeks are the courtroom drama “Murder in the First”; “Demon Knight,” a tale from the crypt; the family drama “Far From Home”; and the gritty thriller “Bad Company.” On the surface, the new entries don’t appear to be potential raiders affecting the current appeal of such diverse pix as “Little Women,” “I.Q.” or “Richie Rich.”

However, since the marketplace isn’t expanding to accommodate the newcomers, the above trio, and everything else in current general release, are going to get pinched.

Paramount’s plan to withdraw “Forrest Gump” from release this week and reissue the pic with the announcement of Oscar noms will just have to wait. A decision was made Jan. 9 to extend its stay in theaters another week.

It might just be a coincidence that the film finished the weekend with a cume of $299.4 million. Mid-week biz on the Tom Hanks’ starrer last week was running at about $75,000 daily, which would bring the film to around $299.7 million prior to its planned hiatus. Apparently the studio had planned to issue one more press release pertaining to film’s box office, and it won’t be ready until Jan. 16.

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