‘Fugitive’ is on a run

It was Warner Bros.’ “The Fugitive” in a walk to the top of the charts as the powerhouse thriller charged to $17.3 million over the four-day Labor Day weekend.

The closest foe was the same studio’s 200-screen expansion of “The Man Without a Face,” which grossed $5.4 million.

With weekend business estimated at $73 million, the frame easily surpassed the previous high, 1990’s holiday pace of $ 66.5 million, to set a new Labor Day record.

The box office is going into the fall season with a roar. However, new product in the marketplace found a cool response at the B.O.

The best of the neophytes was the futuristic “Fortress,” from Miramax’s Dimension division, which chimed in at fifth with $ 4 million. Columbia’s “Calendar Girl” had an inauspicious $ 1.8 million debut to rank 14th. In limited release Gramercy’s “Kalifornia” rolled to a 16th-place $ 1.1 million and Orion Classics’ “Boxing Helena” landed in 21st with $ 780,000.

For the fifth consecutive weekend “The Fugitive” led the box office. Up 8% for the frame, its four-day $ 17.3 million gross translated to unflagging $ 7, 140 averages for its 2,425 sites. The film’s $ 133.7 total ranks as the second fastest grosser of 1993 and places it 48th among all-time money champs.

Warner Bros. bolstered the number of prints on “The Man Without a Face” and slotted second with $ 5.4 million. Mel Gibson’s directing debut had politically correct averages of $ 5,070 from 1,065 playdates. Ahead 17% for the period, the potent drama has an $ 12.4 million cume after 13 days.

With a 20% slide, Universal’s “Hard Target” held onto third with $ 4.4 million. Still, the Van Damme actioner missed the bull’s eye, nabbing $ 2,230 averages from 1,972 pursuits. Its cume has climbed to $ 24.7 million.

The traditional Labor Day box office blues were nowhere in sight as overall business perked up by about 8% from the previous weekend. Moviegoing continued at a record-breaking pace with revenues significantly ahead of last year’s holiday period by 44%. The year to date is now clocking in at $ 3.59 billion and headed for an unprecedented $ 5 billion year.

Far from extinct with a fourth-place, $ 4.1 million weekend was Universal’s “Jurassic Park.” With a 17% bump, it remains one of the most resilient films in the marketplace, scoring $ 2,840 averages from 1,445 enclaves. The film has now grossed $ 316.6 million and should surpass “Star Wars’ “$ 322 million second-place standing in about 10 days.

Dimension’s sci-fi acquisition “Fortress” debuted with an OK $ 4 million to rank fifth. The Christopher Lambert actioner has already tallied up $ 20 million internationally. Its $ 3,320 averages from 1,204 theaters look somewhat short of reaching a comparable domestic success.

“We’re elated by (“Fortress’s”) performance,” said Miramax marketing senior veep Gerry Rich.

Columbia/Castle Rock’s “Needful Things” was wanting in stamina as it chugged into sixth with just under $ 4 million. Diluted by 30% from its opener, the chiller faded to $ 2,010 averages at 1,986 shops. Its 11-day cume is $ 11.1 million.

Columbia’s launch of “Calendar Girl” hit the road with $ 1.8 million and already appears to be running out of gas. The period coming-of-age tale slotted 14th with $ 1,660 averages from 1,081 pit stops.

Gramercy’s “Kalifornia” had better averages of $ 3,060 but the $ 1.1 million gross for the road chiller translated into an equally discouraging commercial journey. It debuted 16th from 337 rides.

Orion Classics’ “Boxing Helena” slotted 21st with $ 780,000. The sexually provocative tale had decent averages of $ 4,840 from 161 sites. However, observers remain skeptical about its popularity once initial controversy passes.

In the specialized arena, October Films launched the British “Bad Behaviour,” starring Stephen Rea, in two Manhattan sites for near-capacity business of $ 31, 000.

Warner Bros.’ “The Secret Garden” bloomed in seventh with $ 3.6 million. The children’s classic fell 6% in 1,332 beds to cultivate averages of $ 2,700. Its to-date total is $ 23.4 million.

Clint Eastwood wound up in eighth place with $ 3.2 million as he continued to serve in Columbia/Castle Rock’s “In the Line of Fire.” The thriller was averaging $ 2,510 from 1,274 perches for the weekend. Up 7%, the yarn continues to be in step with the marketplace. Its cume after nine weekends is $ 97.9 million.

Fox’s “Rising Sun” slowly set into ninth spot with $ 3 million. The thriller, in 1,358 sites, rounded up averages of $ 2,310. Off 6% for the period, its cume stands at $ 56.7 million.

Fighting it out at 10th were Warner Bros.’ “Free Willy” and TriStar’s “Sleepless in Seattle.” Both titles were tracking at $ 2.7 million.

“Willy” saw a 4% rise in business with $ 1,740 averages from 1,551 tanks. Its cume is now $ 66.8 million.

Happily registering commercial insomnia, “Sleepless” awoke 31% stronger with the romance registering $ 2,110 averages from 1,278 close encounters. Its cume is $ 112.7 million.

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