It was bronto business time again for Universal’s “Jurassic Park” as it stomped all over the competition to finish first with an estimated $ 37.5 million. In its wake, Columbia’s much-hyped “Last Action Hero” got drubbed to $ 15.2 million and Fox’s animated “Once Upon a Forest” was looking at a relatively arid expanse of $ 2.2 million.
“Jurassic” entered the weekend with a record seven-day gross of $ 87.1 million and cleared the $ 100 million mark Saturday by about $ 8 million. Defying the odds, it had one of the smallest drops for a second weekend of any blockbuster, registering a modest 22% fall, with averages of $ 15,390 from 2,437 playdates. That brings its 10-day cume to $ 119.2 million.
“There was no way to see how big this film would be. There’s never been anything like it,” said Universal senior VP Nikki Rocco. “Its second weekend would rank fourth (including last week’s real debut) among all-time openers and the momentum doesn’t let up. It could gross $ 200 million in a little more than a month.”
Debuting in the second spot with about $ 15.2 million was “Last Action Hero.” Publicly and privately, studio exex last week had been predicting a $ 20 million weekend, so clearly its launch was below expectations. The action-fantasy arrived in 2,360 marquees for inert averages of $ 6,440.
Columbia marketing prez Sid Ganis, however, drew an analogy to the pictures “Hook,””Twins” and “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.””None (of those pictures) opened as well as ‘Action Hero’ ” and they all went on to better than $ 100 million grosses.” Ganis continued, “Just watch, this is going to be a very fulfilling summer for the studio. We feel great about the opening.”
However, the films Ganis cited all opened to higher or comparable (“Hook”) screen averages, however.
TriStar’s “Cliffhanger” continued to stay on the mountain in third with $ 5.5 million. The edge-of-your-seat thriller slipped 26% in 2,395 summits. With averages of $ 2,300, its cume has risen to $ 58.6 million.
“Cliffhanger’s” weekend, as well as those of “Dave” and “Guilty As Sin,” got a boost from TriStar sneaks of “Sleepless in Seattle.” The romantic comedy ran as perfectly as one could orchestrate a preview. according to non-aligned sources.
“Audiences love this picture,” said TriStar distribution chief Bill Soady. “We’re getting the word out because it’s a terrific picture and you need an extra push with the marketplace being so competitive. This isn’t when you traditionally open this type of film but I think people will be very surprised by the results.”
Buena Vista was also sneaking around the weekend with Saturday previews of “What’s Love Got to Do With It” in advance of next week’s expansion and Father’s Day screenings of “Son-in-Law,” the new Pauly Shore comedy.
Touchstone’s “What’s Love” was full-voiced as it expanded its run by 370 screens to finish fourth with $ 3.5 million. The Tina tuner, in concert at 428 arenas, rocked ’em with averages of $ 8,180. In three weekends of limited release it has grossed $ 5.4 million.
The marketplace was feeling the heat of a one-big-picture climate, shrinking back 6% from last weekend, as well as the comparable period of 1992. A year ago Warner Bros.’ “Batman Returns” was the big noise in its debut; in the absence of dynamic new product, the dinosaurs came up a tad short on their own.
Still Whoopi-ing it up in fifth was Warner Bros.’ “Made in America” with projections of $ 3.4 million. The fertile comedy abated 28% for averages of $ 1, 660 from 2,048 playdates. To date it’s banked $ 34.5 million.
Hollywood Pictures’ “Guilty As Sin” was in sixth with $ 2.5 million. The jeopardy thriller averaged $ 2,000 from $ 1,248 dates for the weekend. Off 31% for the period, it has a cume of $ 15.5 million.
Warner Bros. held seventh position with the politically correct “Dave” polling $ 2.4 million. Down 20% for the frame, it averaged $ 1,500 from 1,600 precincts. Its seven-weekend campaign has rung in with $ 55.4 million.
Not so animated
Creeping in at eighth with $ 2.2 million was Fox’s debut of “Once Upon a Forest.” Audiences failed to see the trees for all the raptors and rexes in the market despite the animated pic’s arrival in 1,487 locales. It averaged a very tame $ 1,480.
Comparatively fierce in ninth was New Line’s torrid “Menace II Society” with $ 2 million. The urban social drama was brawny with $ 3,570 averages from 570 ‘hoods. Down 23% this weekend, it has amassed a cool $ 15.9 million to date.
Touchstone’s “Life With Mikey” ranked 10th with an estimated $ 1.3 million. The comedy was losing its sense of humor fast, slipping 38% and averaging a thin $ 850. Its cume is $ 9.3 million.
Also notable for the weekend was Goldwyn’s 50-screen expansion of “Much Ado About Nothing,” which chimed in with $ 1.1 million to place 12th in the charts.