‘Cop’ lands $13.5 mil in hot sesh

Miramax’s No. 1-ranked “Cop Land” collared $13.5 million in its opening weekend and helped the top 60 films book a $86.7 million total.

The opening was the best for a film starring Sylvester Stallone since October 1994, when “The Specialist” bowed to $14.3 million, eventually taking out $57.4 million.

The weekend total represented an 8% drop from seven days earlier but a 17% improvement over the Aug. 16, 1996, frame.

Last year at this time Warner Bros.’ “Tin Cup” led the field with $10.1 million. By comparison, this weekend featured three films weighing in at over $12 million.

The race for second place was a photo finish between Sony’s four-week-old “Air Force One” and Warner Bros.’ sophomore “Conspiracy Theory.” Less than $50,000 separated the two films, which each pulled in just over $12.3 million.

So-so ‘Event’

Paramount’s sci-fi horror pic “Event Horizon” took off in fourth place with $9.5 million, while Warner Bros.’ Shaquille O’Neal starrer “Steel” landed in 15th with a creaky $870,000.

Also new this weekend was Fox Searchlight’s “The Full Monty,” which flashed just under $177,000 in six situations for an impressive $29,431 average. The Brit comedy has cumed a muscular $244,375 since it bowed Aug. 13.

Less gripping was MGM’s “Paperback Romance,” which absorbed $13,047 in four libraries for a $3,485 average.

Hot time of year

Mid- to late August has become an increasingly attractive time for domestic theatrical distributors. Whereas the last few weekends of school vacation were once seen only as a dumping ground for questionable product, the period is now seen as a viable launching pad for higher-profile films.

Holdovers also fared relatively well with Buena Vista’s sturdy “George of the Jungle” suffering the least with just a 24% drop and New Line’s “Spawn” falling fastest at with a 44% plunge.

“Air Force One” continued its shallow decent, posting its third consecutive 31% weekend-to-weekend drop.

Meanwhile, Sony’s “Men in Black” is on track to become the highest-grossing film of the year. The sci-fi comedy will probably surpass Universal’s “The Lost World: Jurassic Park’s” $226.4 million later this week.

Universal’s “Liar Liar” remains the No. 3 film of the year at just under $180 million.

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