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Novelist Virginia Woolf demonstrated a want-to-see factor comparable to Michael Crichton, at least in Manhattan, where the exclusive launch of “Orlando” drew turnaway crowds.

The Sony Pictures Classics release directed by Sally Potter has received extensive local publicity, commencing with an opening night (March 19) showing at Film Society of Lincoln Center/Museum of Modern Art’s “New Directors” series. Two theaters, using two screens each, racked up a terrific $ 86,448 opening weekend, much of it from the Greenwich Village venue.

Tilda Swinton starrer also bowed in Seattle exclusively at the Egyptian with a big $ 20,582 opening weekend.

Generally, the octopus-like grasp of summer blockbusters on theater screens crowded out many of the exclusives. Among the survivors, two sophomore entries had trouble withstanding the competition. October’s “Un Coeur en Hiver” fell 48% in its second weekend at Lincoln Plaza but had a decent opening in Greenwich Village. IRS’ “The Music of Chance” dipped 39% in its Gotham midtown exclusive.

The fifth annual N.Y. Lesbian & Gay Film Festival earned a powerhouse $ 39, 697 in its first full week (of two weeks of varied programming) at Cinema Village.

The following are actual grosses for films in exclusive release (three screens or less) in Los Angeles and Manhattan.

Los Angeles

“The Story of Qiu Ju” (Sony Pictures Classics) minus 29% to $ 6,483 in sixth weekend at Laemmle Royal.

“Wide Sargasso Sea” (Fine Line) down 24% to $ 3,915 in eighth weekend at Laemmle Music Hall.

“Leolo” (Fine Line) lost 33% to $ 1,311 in seventh weekend at Landmark Goldwyn Pavilion; off 20% to $ 2,731 in same at Laemmle Sunset 5.

“Indochine” (Sony Pictures Classics) down 11% to $ 2,540 in sixth weekend at Laemmle Monica.

New York

“Orlando” (Sony Pictures Classics) debuted with a boffo $ 46,436 in first weekend at Angelika; $ 40,012 in same at Lincoln Plaza.

“Un Coeur en Hiver” (October Films) fell 48% to $ 11,707 in second weekend at Lincoln Plaza; began with good $ 6,575 in first weekend at Village East.

“The Music of Chance” (IRS Releasing) plunged 39% to $ 8,103 in second weekend at Paris Fine Arts.

“The Story of Qiu Ju” minus 38% to $ 5,863 in ninth weekend at Lincoln Plaza; bowed with fine $ 4,135 in first weekend at Village East.

“Wide Sargasso Sea” moved over to Sutton for quiet $ 2,010 in first weekend; minus 33% to $ 1,350 in third weekend at Worldwide; down 37% to $ 3,579 in sixth weekend at Village East.

“American Heart” (Triton) down 46% to $ 3,766 in fifth weekend at Village East; fell 47% to $ 2,080 in same at 57th St. Playhouse.

“For a Lost Soldier” (Strand) dropped 42% to $ 3,963 in sixth weekend at Quad.

“Visions of Light” (Kino Intl.) plummeted 50% to $ 3,016 in third weekend at Quad.

“The Long Day Closes” (Sony Pictures Classics) fell 50% to $ 2,934 in third weekend at Film Forum.

“Sofie” (Arrow) down 27% to $ 2,296 in fourth weekend at Angelika 57.

“Olivier, Olivier” (Sony Pictures Classics) dived 55% to $ 2,226 in fifth weekend at Quad.

“Indochine” moved over to Worldwide for soft $ 1,910 first weekend after 24 weeks at Lincoln Plaza grossed $ 566,848, an impressive $ 23,619 average per frame.

“Okoge” (Cinevista) minus 44% to $ 1,925 in sixth weekend at Quad.

“The Lover” (MGM/UA) moved into the Criterion (an unusual Times Square booking) for an unsuccessful $ 1,360 in first weekend; $ 1,261 in first weekend at Gemini.