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‘Dave’ leads May B.O. to 4% increase

Domestic film box office in May rose 4% to $ 392 million from $ 378.2 million a year a ago. Figure is exceeded only by the all-time May peak of $ 398.6 million set in 1989.

“Dave” was the leading film last month, as was its distributor Warner Bros. , which took more than 20% of the month’s business.

Paramount’s market share in May was nearly 16%, as “Indecent Proposal” was the No. 2 pic. Universal’s “Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story” helped it to nearly 12% in market share.

The exclusive Daily Variety B.O. reporting survey puts the national May gross at $ 392 million, from 77.2 million tickets sold at a composite average price near $ 5.08. Comparable data a year ago were $ 378.2 million, 75.5 million and $ 5.01.

The seasonally adjusted Variety Box Office Index for May rose to 98.5 from 95 .3 last year. Since the index base was 100.0 in 1990, last month’s level of business was 98.5% of the average month’s business in the base year.

The May period this year covered the five weeks from April 30 through June 3.

Other leading pix last month included “Sliver,””Cliffhanger,””Hot Shots! Part Deux,””Made in America,””Posse,””Sidekicks” and “Benny & Joon.”

For the first five months of the year, cumulative national B.O. is $ 1.68 billion (21 weeks) compared to $ 1.66 billion (20 weeks) last year. Two years ago the comparable running tally was $ 1.78 billion.

Cumulative ticket sales through May were 330.1 million, about even with 331.5 million a year ago.

The May periods always end in the week of the Memorial Day holiday. Business typically falls back from the holiday level for a couple of weeks, before surging ahead as summer vacations swing into high gear.

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