‘Con Air’ reduces altitude

Buena Vista’s “Con Air” took off somewhat more slowly than originally predicted, taking in $24.1 million for the weekend. That’s $1.4 million — or 5% — below Sunday’s estimate of $25.5 million.

The opening was $1 million shy of BV’s “The Rock,” which bowed to $25.1 million at this time last year.

Lifting off in 2,824 airports, the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced actioner averaged $8,545 per runway.

Meanwhile, in its third weekend, Universal’s “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” chewed up $18.6 million, down 46% from the previous frame. In 3,397 complexes, the Steven Spielberg-helmed sequel averaged a still-toothy $5,465 per site.

U takes top 3

Universal can now lay claim to the top three new releases of 1997: “Lost World” ($171.1 million), “Liar Liar” ($168.5 million) and “Dante’s Peak” ($67.2 million).

Fox’s Special Edition re-issues “Star Wars” and “The Empire Strikes Back” ranked Nos. 3 and 4 among all releases, with $138.3 million and $67.5 million, respectively.

Overall, business was sluggish compared with last year’s blistering early-summer pace. Ticket sales for the top 60 films came to $71 million, down 7% from last week and 15% from the June 7, 1996, weekend.

With the exception of New Line’s leggy “Austin Powers” and U’s blockbuster “Liar Liar,” all of the top-10 holdovers suffered dropoffs of 42% or more.

Auds fluff ‘Pillow’

Among limited releases, CFP’s “The Pillow Book” opened to $105,922 on seven screens. That gave the Peter Greenaway-helmed pic a $15,132 average.

New Line’s “Love! Valour! Compassion!” chatted up $314,459 in 81 summer houses for a $3,882 average. Cume is $1.3 million after 24 days.

Miramax’s “Brassed Off” marched 20% faster after expanding its run 33% from 36 to 48 screens. The Pete Postlethwaite starrer piped up $148,369 for a $3,091 average.

Triumph’s “Bliss” bowed to $54,547 in 11 locations for a $4,959 average; Handmade Films and CFP’s “Intimate Relations” bowed to $12,918 in six theaters, or $2,153 per screen; and Tree Farms’ “Hijacking Hollywood” debuted with $4,333 in one L.A. location.

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