Weekend Box Office (July 18 - 20, 1997)

George of the JungleTHIS WEEKEND George of the Jungle swung into theaters nationwide with a meaty $16.6M weekend. Its Wednesday opening brought its five-day total to $22.9M. Although a very strong showing, it was not enough to unseat Men In Black from the top spot as it collected $19M in ticket sales boosting its total to $172.1M. Holding on extremely well in its second frame was Contact starring Jodie Foster which dipped by a slim 22% taking its ten-day gross to over $47M. The Robert Zemeckis-helmed picture is benefitting from controversy brought on by President Clinton and CNN plus is being helped by recent space-related news stories concerning the Mars Pathfinder and the Mir Space Station. MIB and Contact's drops of 37% and 22%, respectively, from last weekend were very close to my projections of 40% and 25%. Jungle opened stronger than my guess of $17M over five days.

Nothing To LoseAlso opening over the weekend was the Martin Lawrence/Tim Robbins comedy Nothing to Lose which bagged $11.6M. With few comedies playing right now, the time was right to release this picture and the opening total seems promising. It is the second biggest opening for a Lawrence film (behind $15.5M for Bad Boys in 1995) and the biggest for Robbins. For a review of Nothing to Lose, visit Chief's Movie Review Page. Jackie Chan continues to suffer from diminishing returns as the release of his 1991 film Operation Condor was only able to collect $4.7M at theaters. His recent films have all opened better : Rumble in the Bronx debuted with a $9.9M weekend, Supercop opened to $5.5M last July and First Strike took in $5.8M in January of this year. Nothing to Lose premiered better than my $9M guess and Condor just about matched my $5M forecast.

Elsewhere in the top ten, there's no stopping My Best Friend's Wedding which passed the $90M mark with ease and dipped by less than 22% - the smallest drop in the top ten. It continues to be the "date movie" of choice this summer and talks of a sequel have already begun. Face Off and Out to Sea also fared well this weekend as the Travolta/Cage film's total reached $86.3M and is still in the top five. Meanwhile Hercules and Batman & Robin eroded away but the Dynamic Duo finally limped across the $100M mark after a full month.

Overall, the top ten films grossed an encouraging $93.6M - up 28% from last year (when the Summer Olympic games began) and up 24% from 1995. Below are the final figures for the top ten films over the weekend. Click on the title to jump to its official home page.

# Title Jul 18 - 20 Jul 11 - 13 % Chg. Weeks Cumulative
1 Men in Black $ 19,029,928 $ 30,062,317 -36.7 3 $ 172,145,793
2 George of the Jungle 16,540,791 1 22,878,989
3 Contact 16,114,633 20,584,908 -21.7 2 47,408,514
4 Nothing to Lose 11,617,767 1 11,617,767
5 Face Off 8,911,744 12,332,309 -27.7 4 86,302,135
6 My Best Friend's Wedding 6,522,025 8,321,580 -21.6 5 94,729,094
7 Hercules 5,192,475 8,339,217 -37.7 4 76,760,217
8 Operation Condor 4,731,751 1 4,731,751
9 Out to Sea 3,170,814 4,155,935 -23.7 3 20,134,766
10 Batman & Robin 1,780,393 4,085,749 -56.4 5 102,808,365
Top 5 $ 72,214,863 $ 79,640,331 -9.3
Top 10 93,612,321 94,856,244 -1.3

    This column is updated three times a week : Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Source : Variety, EDI.

    Last Updated : July 21, 1997 at 11:00PM