New November record set at $573.9 mil

It was a November to remember as the monthly box office set a new frame record of $573.9 million. Spurred by dynamic openings on four consecutive weekends, the monthly gross increased by roughly 10% from the previous high mark, set in 1994. B.O. was up 18% from one year ago.

For icing on the cake, admissions also hit a new height, with an estimated 124.7 million tickets sold. That bests the record ’94 performance level by 5.5%.

The month was bookended by potent Buena Vista debuts of the Mel Gibson actioner “Ransom” and the Thanksgiving family treat “101 Dalmatians.” The company was a clear market share winner with 28.7% of the pie on grosses of $165 million. “Ransom” was November’s top individual performer.

Big pix lead charge

Event pictures dominated the period, with the top 10 movies accounting for more than 75% of monthly results. The absence of a commercial juggernaut saw MGM/UA drop to a blip on the radar screen and Universal fall off the map completely.

Nonetheless, it also turned out to be a vibrant month for specialized and platform releases. Among films demonstrating initial and continuing strength were Goldwyn/Alliance’s “Big Night,” October/Alliance’s “Secrets & Lies,” Fine Line’s “Shine” and “Swingers” and Miramax’s “The English Patient.”

Through the end of November, 1996 domestic box office had surpassed $5.2 billion and should exceed 1995’s $5.35 billion cume around Tuesday. The current momentum virtually guarantees a final tally north of $5.7 billion.

Following “Ransom,” the top individual performers (in descending order) were: Warner Bros.’ “Space Jam,” Paramount’s “Star Trek: First Contact,” Buena Vista’s “101 Dalmatians,” Fox’s “Romeo & Juliet,” TriStar’s “The Mirror Has Two Faces,” Fox’s “Jingle All the Way,” New Line’s “Set It Off,” Warner Bros.’ “Sleepers” and TriStar’s “High School High.”

Want Entertainment News First? Sign up for Variety Alerts and Newsletters!
Post A Comment 0