Weekend Box Office (September 5 - 7, 1997)
Thanks to a weak marketplace, Steven Seagal was able to claim the number
one spot for the first time in over three years as Fire
Down Below collected $6.1M over the post-Labor
Day frame. His last film to debut at the top was during the weekend of
February 18-21, 1994 when On Deadly Ground
bumped Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
out of the number one slot. Warner Bros. will be able to use the line "Number
One Movie in America" in its advertisements for the rest of the week
but it won't help their action picture become a hit. Although it is the
box office leader, Fire posted
the weakest #1 debut of any film this year and second lowest weekend gross
for a #1 film in 1997 (Jerry Maguire
led the weekend box office over the January 24-26 period with $5.5M in
its seventh weekend of release). The last film to open at number one with
a smaller amount was nearly a year ago when Maximum
Risk, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme,
collected $5.6M over the September 13-15, 1996 frame.
Seagal's popularity is steadily declining, as evidenced by the paltry opening of Fire Down Below. His last three films have achieved an average 30.2% of their total gross over the opening weekend. At the same rate, Fire will eventually top off at $20M. However, if it follows the path of his last film The Glimmer Man, Fire will end up with less than $17M and become the lowest-grossing film of Seagal's career making less than the $18.9M that Above The Law collected in 1988. This is nothing but bad news for Seagal. The table below follows the box office performances of his films during this decade:
Outside of the top ten, Con Air crossed the $100M mark on Saturday - exactly three months after its release date. The leading titles in limited release continued to be The Full Monty with a $17,110 per-screen average ($2.7M to date), In the Company of Men with an average of $2,770 ($2M to date), and Shall We Dance? with a $2,683 average and a $5.9M total so far. In worldwide box office news, The Lost World has crossed the $500M mark and Men in Black will soon race across $400M (see International).
The $6.1M opening of Fire Down Below was on track with my projection of $6M. Jane and AFO dropped harder than I thought while Money Talks came close to my guess of $5.2M.
Overall, the top ten films grossed $37.6M which was up 5% from last year and up 10% from 1995. Below are final studio figures for the weekend. Click on the title to jump to its official home page:
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 : September 9, 1997 at 12:30PM EST
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