‘Gun’ blazing; ‘Paper’ hot

Disney’s plucky screen pucksters took the nation’s box office by storm in their second incarnation, “D2: The Mighty Ducks,” skating to an estimated $ 10.5 million in the pic’s debut weekend. Universal’s “The Paper” made headlines with a third-place $ 7 million opening and New Line’s “Above the Rim” dunked $ 3.9 million to leave the court in fifth.

“D2,” flying into 2,182 rinks, translated to a per-arena average of $ 4,810, a tad better than the original’s performance. Still, the feisty preem looked to have only about a 40% boost Friday to Saturday; Disney pictures usually can be expected to jump as much as 100% on Saturdays.

Nationwide, Saturday box office appeared soft following hot Friday figures. Spring recess for many schools in the country shifted weekend movie attendance more heavily toward Friday.

Paramount’s “Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult” landed in second place with an estimated $ 8 million. The cop cutups slipped 39% in their sophomore run to collar a $ 3,360 average. Pic’s 2,383 precincts have nabbed $ 24.9 million in 10 days.

Specialized pix

Several titles expanded in the specialized arena to good effect. Miramax’s “Sirens” doubled its dates to clear the weekend with $ 700,000 and a 27% box office boost. It averaged about $ 3,400 per site.

Gramercy’s “Four Weddings and a Funeral” had a rite to celebrate with a 51% hike to $ 490,000. Its 35 dates are averaging $ 14,000.

More worrisome is Warner Bros.’ $ 450,000 weekend from 126 sites on “The Hudsucker Proxy.” The hefty-budgeted comedy continues to play to an upscale crowd, with the expansion dropping its average to $ 3,570.

Overall weekend biz got more than a couple of shots on goal thanks to the post-Oscar, spring recess combo. Box office rose some 10% from the immediate prior frame and was ahead of the comparable weekend of 1993 by about 24%. That puts the year’s tally at a record $ 1.1 billion pace.

Universal’s much Oscared “Schindler’s List” swelled 33% to rank fourth with approximately $ 5.8 million. The emotional chronicle of the Holocaust had a $ 4, 210 average from 1,377 locations. Its cume is now $ 68.4 million.

Also reaping award glory was TriStar’s twice-cited “Philadelphia,” in eighth with $ 2.1 million. The AIDS-discrimination drama jumped 84% post-Oscar for a $ 2,360 average from 888 playdates. Its cume is $ 67 million.

Miramax’s “The Piano,” with three statuettes, blossomed 120% with a gross of $ 1.35 million on 670 screens, adding 236 post-Oscar. Its cume is a tuneful $ 36 .2 million.

Universal rolled out “The Paper” to 1,087 playdates and did first-edition business of $ 7 million. The ensemble human comedy had a potent $ 6,440 average to bring its cume, after a limited release, to $ 7.2 million.

New Line’s basketball diary “Above the Rim” hooped it up with $ 3.9 million in fifth spot. The drama, which opened Wednesday, was off the bench for a solid $ 4,520 average. Its 863 arenas have rolled the five-day cume to $ 4.8 million.

Still at the alert in sixth place was TriStar’s “Guarding Tess” with a $ 3.1 million weekend. The comedy-thriller dipped 38%, posting a $ 2,040 average from 1,614 stations. It has a cume of $ 18.9 million.

New Line’s “Monkey Trouble” was reaping the benefits of school break (though kids obviously preferred fowl play) in seventh with $ 2.3 million. The animal antics still took a 49% hit and reduced admissions accounted for a $ 1,620 average. Its 1,413 playdates bring the 10-day cume to $ 7.7 million.

Discount boost

Discount run preems geared for the holidays saw Warner Bros. enter the fray with “The Pelican Brief” and Universal howl in with “Beethoven’s 2nd.””Pelican” was estimated close to $ 1.3 million to bring its cume to $ 98.9 million, while the second “Beethoven” had a composed $ 750,000.

Savoy’s “Lightning Jack” was about 44% slower on the draw, finishing ninth with $ 1.8 million. The comic Western was moseying along with a $ 1,090 average from 1,565 corrals. Its cume is $ 12.8 million.

Both Warner Bros.’ “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” and Fox’s long-cleaning “Mrs. Doubtfire” were estimating a 10th place spot with $ 1.6 million. “Ace’s” pace was 41% lagging for a $ 1,060 average and $ 64.4 million cume. “Mrs. D,” nearing the $ 100 million mark in 1994 receipts, was just 9% off last weekend with a $ 1 ,380 average. Its $ 208.3 million cume ranks it 14th among all-time domestic grossers.

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