B.O. takes the ‘Fifth’

All’s quiet before the storm.

One week before the launch of Universal’s highly anticipated “The Lost World: Jurassic Park,” a dearth of high-profile openers sent total ticket sales plummeting to their lowest levels since October.

Sony’s sophomore “The Fifth Element” remained the No. 1 attraction with a studio-estimated $11.6 million. Down 32% from its debut last weekend, French director Luc Besson’s sci-fi adventure landed in 2,500 theaters for a $4,640 average. Cume to date is $34.4 million.

In second place, Warner Bros.’ “Fathers’ Day” dropped just 27% to $6.4 million. In 2,507 tie boxes, the Ivan Reitman helmed comedy averaged $2,553 per presentation. After 10 days, the Robin Williams-Billy Crystal starrer has cumed $17.5 million.

The weekend’s two wide openers proved disappointing.

Spelling and Paramount’s “Night Falls on Manhattan” tied for sixth place with “Liar Liar.” In 758 bedrooms, the Sidney Lumet helmed drama about corrupt New York cops earned a sleepy $3 million for a $3,958 average.

Trimark’s “Sprung” pulled in just $2.5 million in three days, putting it at No. 8 on the chart. The African American romantic comedy, written and directed by Rusty Cundieff (“Tales from the Hood”), appeared in 780 complexes for a $3,205 average.

The film has cumed $3 million since its Wednesday opening.

Meanwhile, Sony’s “Rudyard Kipling’s the Second Jungle Book: Mowgli & Baloo,” took in just $150,000 in 101 lairs for a $1,485 average. Sony, which launched the live action sequel with little fanfare, plans a late summer sellthrough video release.

Holdovers apparently benefited from the weakness of the freshman crop, with drop-offs among the top 10 films ranging from 17% to 32%. Still, the estimated total for films grossing $500,000 or more was down 18% from last weekend at about $49.6 million.

That’s also an 18% drop from the equivalent frame last year, when WB’s “Twister” dominated the box office with a $37.1 million sophomore frame. It’s only the third weekend this year which failed to outpace the comparable 1996 frame.

The weekend was likely to turn in the worst overall performance since Oct. 4, 1996, when the $500,000-plus grossers totalled $49.7 million and the top 60 films came to $56 million.

Among specialized releases, New Line’s film version of Terrence McNally’s stage play “Love! Valour! Compassion!” bowed to $175,000 in 14 theaters for a $12,500 average.

Gramercy’s “Twin Town” scored $14,300 in five screens in New York, L.A. and Toronto. The film, which bowed in its single New York run last weekend, has grossed $24,100 to date.

Rounding out the top 10, Paramount’s “Breakdown” took the No. 3 spot, off 21% to $6 million. In 2,344 gas stations, the Kurt Russell starrer averaged $2,560 per stop. Cume after 17 days is $31.3 million.

New Line’s “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” continues to groove, dropping 21% to $5.6 million. In 2,187 love-ins, the ’60s inspired comedy averaged $2,561. Now in its third week, the Mike Myers starrer has cumed $27.3 million.

20th Century Fox’s “Volcano” remained in fifth place, down 22% to $3.5 million. Blowing its top in 2,636 locations, the disaster pic averaged 1,328 per eruption. Cume after 24 days is $38.8 million.

Tied for sixth, Universal’s “Liar Liar” enjoyed a 17% hold, grossing $3 million in 2,082 situations for a $1,441 average. Now in its ninth week, the Jim Carrey starrer has cumed $160.4 million.

At No. 9, Buena Vista’s “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion” dropped 24% to $2.2 million in 1,607 auditoriums for a $1,369 average. Cume is $22.8 million after 24 days.

Sony’s “Anaconda” took the 10th spot with $2.1 million, off 21% from the previous frame. In 2,032 jungle hideaways, the Luis Llosa helmed horror pic averaged $1,033. After 5-1/2 weeks, the cume is $55.9 million.

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