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‘Leolo’ opens big in N.Y., ‘Dog’ bow wows L.A.

Business for exclusives was generally slow post-Oscars, but a several newcomers managed promising debuts.

Fine Line’s Canadian picture “Leolo” didn’t get Academy Award recognition but still delivered a big $ 31,009 debut weekend at two New York houses.

Cinevista’s gay-themed Japanese import “Okoge” opened with a powerhouse $ 18, 251 playing solo in Greenwich Village. Following its West Coast run, Kino’s documentary “Visions of Light” had an SRO $ 18,037 first weekend at one Gotham screen.

Roxie’s NC-17 rated Belgium import “Man Bites Dog” gathered a quality $ 10, 199 first weekend solo in Los Angeles.

Less successful on the West Coast was Miramax’s New York-made “Just Another Girl on the IRT,” bowing with just $ 5,911 at two L.A. sites. It continued in Gotham with a much better $ 23,093 third weekend at three screens.

October Films opened its three-pack of short films “Two Mikes Don’t Make a Wright” for an encouraging $ 7,823 first weekend at one Manhattan bijou. Strand’s “Masala” had wobbly legs, dipping 34% to $ 5,319 in second exclusive weekend in New York.

The foreign-language Oscar to Sony Pictures Classics’ “Indochine” boosted the pic to $ 20,216 at two Manhattan sites, but the film lost 14% to $ 11,796 in its L.A. solo run.

In regional play, Lighten Up Films’ “Let’s Kill All the Lawyers” bowed on its home turf in Detroit with a $ 7,310 weekend gross at one screen.

LOS ANGELES

“Man Bites Dog” (Roxie) debuted with a hotsy $ 10,199 weekend at Landmark Nuart.

“Just Another Girl on the IRT” (Miramax) opened with a slow $ 4,023 first weekend at Laemmle Sunset 5; $ 1,888 at UA Coronet.

“Un-Becoming Age” (Castle Hill) bowed with modest $ 3,753 first weekend at Laemmle Sunset 5.

“Like Water for Chocolate” (Miramax) steady with $ 14,329 (down 2%) in sixth weekend at Landmark Goldwyn Pavilion after $ 22,244 in fifth week; up 1% again to $ 14,011 in same at Laemmle Sunset 5 after $ 19,068 in fifth.

“Indochine” (SPC) won an Oscar but dipped 14% to $ 11,796 in 15th weekend at Laemmle Royal after $ 17,373 in 13th week.

“Watch It” (Skouras) dipped 29% to $ 3,609 in second weekend at General Cinema Avco in Westwood after $ 6,063 debut; minus 23% to $ 3,955 in same at Cineplex Beverly Center after $ 6,843 opener.

“The Last Days of Chez Nous” (Fine Line) minus 11% to $ 4,240 in fourth weekend at Laemmle Sunset 5 after $ 6,580 in third week; down 13% to $ 3,834 in same at Laemmle Monica after $ 5,448 in third.

“Strictly Ballroom” (Miramax) off 25% to $ 6,265 in eighth weekend at Landmark Goldwyn Pavilion after $ 11,480 in seventh week; minus 17% to $ 7,041 in same at Cineplex Beverly Center after $ 11,209 in seventh; down 9% to $ 7,102 in sixth weekend at Cineplex Broadway after $9,675 in fifth week.

“Stolen Children” (Goldwyn) down 12% to $ 3,176 in fourth weekend at Cineplex Beverly Center after $ 4,856 in third week; bowed with $ 3,137 in first weekend at Landmark NuWilshire.

“Olivier, Olivier” (SPC) off 9% to $ 4,773 in fourth weekend at Laemmle Music Hall after $ 6,745 in third week.

“Reservoir Dogs” (Miramax) (return) came back strong with $ 7,596 in first weekend at Laemmle Monica.

“Close to Eden” (Miramax) lost the Oscar race and plunged 47% to $ 1,231 in fifth weekend at Landmark NuWilshire after $ 3,039 in fourth week.

NEW YORK

“Leolo” (Fine Line) bowed with strong $ 17,940 first weekend at Angelika; $ 13,069 in same at Lincoln Plaza.

“Okoge” (Cinevista) had a merry opening with $ 18,251 in first weekend at Angelika including midnight shows.

“Visions of Light” (Kino) debuted powerfully with $ 18,037 in first weekend at Film Forum 2.

“Two Mikes Don’t Make a Wright” (October Films) compiled a nice opening weekend of $ 7,823 at Film Forum 1.

“Like Water for Chocolate” dead even with $ 15,938 in seventh weekend at Angelika after $ 25,434 in sixth week; plus 12% to $ 6,873 in same at Carnegie Hall Screening Room after $ 10,218 in sixth.

“Just Another Girl on the IRT” down 10% to $ 12,256 in third weekend at Village Sevenplex after $ 18,248 in second week; minus 7% to $ 5,391 in same at Orpheum after $ 7,916 in second; off 14% to $ 5,446 in same at Criterion after $ 9,127 in second.

“Masala” (Strand) fell 34% to $ 5,319 in second weekend at Quad after $ 10, 891 debut.

“Indochine” Oscar-laureled its way up 30% to $ 12,316 in 15th weekend at Lincoln Plaza after $ 16,493 in 14th week; plus 8% to $ 7,900 in seventh weekend at Quad after $ 10,162 in sixth.

“Strictly Ballroom” minus 34% to $ 10,979 in eighth weekend at Angelika after $ 22,619 in seventh week; down 35% to $ 8,703 in third weekend at Lincoln Plaza after $ 18,573 in second.

“Stolen Children” down 18% to $ 12,430 in fifth weekend at Lincoln Plaza after $ 23,382 in fourth week.

“Olivier, Olivier” lost 25% to $ 10,076 in sixth weekend at Lincoln Plaza after $ 19,326 in fifth week.

“El Mariachi” (Columbia) down 32% to $ 8,812 in sixth weekend at Village Sevenplex after $ 17,337 in fifth; down 24% to $ 4,940 in fourth two-day period at Angelika 57 after $ 13,356 in third week.

“The Last Days of Chez Nous” plus 6% to $ 7,641 in sixth weekend at 68th St. Playhouse after $ 9,403 in fifth week; up 1% to $ 5,931 in same at Village East after $ 7,555 in fifth.

“The Lover” (MGM/UA) improved once more (by 19%) to $ 8,580 in 23rd weekend at Paris Fine Arts after $ 11,188 in 22nd week.

“Watch It” down 23% to $ 4,057 in second weekend at Orpheum after $ 6,622 opener; minus 26% to $ 3,745 in same at 19th St. East after $ 6,071 in first six days.

“Manufacturing Consent” (Zeitgeist) down 15% to $ 7,057 in third weekend at Film Forum 3 after $ 12,972 in second week.

“Riff-Raff” (Fine Line) minus 12% to $ 4,908 in eighth weekend at Quad after $ 7,181 in seventh week.

“Mac” (Goldwyn) down 26% to $ 4,300 in sixth weekend at Carnegie Hall Cinema after $ 7,407 in fifth week; minus 28% to $ 4,772 in same at Angelika after $ 8, 640 in sixth; preemed with $ 2,250 in first weekend at Plaza.

“Tous les Matins du Monde” (October Films) bowed with $ 2,292 at Worldwide in first moveover weekend after ending its long Lincoln Plaza run.

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