‘Titanic’ tops Brazil b.o. boom

Breaks old record, held by 'Jaws'

RIO DE JANEIRO — “Titanic” has become the most-seen film in Brazilian history and has helped drive a surge in overall B.O. revenues.

At the 14-week mark, James Cameron’s epic had drawn auds of 13,406,287, beating out the 22-year record of 13,035,000 held by “Jaws.”

“Titanic” has also sailed past the $60 million mark, a considerably higher gross than the film has made in either Italy or Spain and a whopping five times the take of last year’s Brazilian b.o. champ, “The Lost World: Jurassic Park.”

The “Titanic” phenom is but a part of a strong local B.O. climb. Grosses from the top 20 films screened in the initial 14 weeks of 1998 reached $88.6 million, sharply up from just $27.7 million in the same period last year.

Admissions for the period more than tripled to 19.7 million, from 6.14 million last year.

Even disregarding the impact of “Titanic,” exhibs saw a 46% B.O. rise and a 30% admission increase year-on-year.

Two local pics have helped fuel the climb: Renato Aragao’s kiddie comedy “O Novico Rebelde,” with 1.5 million ducats sold, and Berlin Golden Bear winner “Central Station,” from Walter Salles Jr., which was going strong with 800,000 admissions by its fifth week.

But both are far behind Brazil’s most-seen domestic, “Dona Flor and her Two Husbands,” which sold 10,735,000 tix in 1978 and ranks third overall.

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