Weekend Box Office (October 24 - 26, 1997)

THIS WEEKEND Moviegoers overwhelmingly chose existing hits over three new releases as the top four films remained the same as last weekend and posted small declines. Holding onto the top spot was the Sony horror film I Know What You Did Last Summer with a gross of $12.5M, down just 21%, bringing its total to $32.8M in ten days. Warner Bros. claimed second place with Devil's Advocate which slipped a scant 16% (the smallest drop of any picture in the top ten) to take in $10.2M during its second frame for a $26.6M total to date. The Morgan Freeman thriller Kiss the Girls was third with $5.1M, off 26%, in its fourth round with audiences. Seven Years in Tibet nabbed fourth place once again with $4.7M, according to estimates, as it slid by 27%.

The dropoffs were incredibly low for the top four films, especially for Summer. A second-weekend depreciation of 21% is rare for horror movies as they tend to attract much of their targeted audience during the first week of play. Summer is benefitting from having Halloween right around the corner as teens and young adults are looking for a good scare plus with the much-anticipated Scream 2 still seven weeks away, Summer is scoring with fans who just don't want to wait that long for a frightfest. Similarly in the fall of 1994, Stargate opened a full three weeks ahead of the eagerly-awaited Star Trek : Generations and sci-fi fans, all hyped up for the new Trek film, boosted Stargate to a surprising $16.7M opening - an October record that still stands today. Devil's Advocate had a wonderful second frame and also parlayed the public's demand for scary movies into box office gold. It will end up being Al Pacino's highest-grossing film since 1995's Heat which took in $67.4M, and may even surpass it.

The powerful sophomore performances by Summer and Devil over the weekend were two of the best showings by October hit films. The table below shows the best second-weekend performances over the last eight years by movies released in October with openings of $10M or more:

Year Movie 1st Weekend 2nd Weekend % Chg.
1989 Look Who's Talking $ 12.1M $ 14.1M +16.8
1997 Devil's Advocate 12.2 10.2 -16.0
1995 Get Shorty 12.7 10.2 -19.7
1997 I Know What You Did Last Summer 15.8 12.5 -20.9
1996 Sleepers 12.3 9.6 -21.9
1994 Stargate 16.7 12.4 -25.7
1993 Demolition Man 14.3 10.3 -27.9

GattacaThree new movies hardly made a dent into moviegoing in general. Gattaca, from Sony, led the way with $4.3M which was good enough for fifth place. The genetic thriller, starring Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, gave the studio three of the top five films but performed not so well and is likely to gross only about $11-13M before it closes. Paramount's Fairy Tale debuted in sixth with $3.5M. A Life Less Ordinary, starring Ewan McGregor and Cameron Diaz, opened in ninth in 1,207 theaters with a paltry $2M gross. By comparison, Trainspotting (the last film from Ordinary director Danny Boyle) opened wide in 191 locations and collected $1.4M in August 1996. Its opening weekend average of $7,330 far outdistanced Ordinary's opening average of $1,663.

Outside of the top ten, solid performances were registered by Boogie Nights and Bean. Boogie expanded from 30 to 124 locations and grooved to an estimated average of $14,578 per site, almost three times the average for the number one film Summer. With $1.8M, it landed at number 12 with its eyes set on the top ten next weekend when it struts its way into nationwide release. Bean, still only in Canadian release domestically, collected $1.6M, down 28%, with a strong $6,629 per-screen average. Its U.S. launch is still two weeks away.

The freshman releases all performed worse than my projections while the older titles fared much better. Gattaca's $4.3M was lower than my $7M prediction, Fairy Tale was closer with $3.5M versus my $5M forecast, but A Life Less Ordinary had surprisingly little steam as its $2M tally was much less than my $6M projection. Among holdovers, Summer and Devil performed much better than my predicted dropoffs of 40% and 35% respectively.

Overall, the top ten films grossed $49.3M which was up 11% from last year and up 10% from 1995. Be sure to check in on Thursday for a complete summary and forecasts for next weekend when Red Corner and Switchback debut.

Below are final studio figures for the weekend. Click on the title to jump to its official home page:

# Title Oct 24 - 26 Oct 17 - 19 % Chg. Weeks Cumulative
1 I Know What You Did Last Summer $ 12,507,880 $ 15,818,645 -20.9 2 $ 32,769,394
2 Devil's Advocate 10,218,953 12,170,536 -16.0 2 26,636,076
3 Kiss the Girls 5,136,886 6,975,730 -26.4 4 46,351,308
4 Seven Years in Tibet 4,715,925 6,412,250 -26.5 3 26,306,590
5 Gattaca 4,320,202 1 4,320,202
6 Fairy Tale 3,515,323 1 3,515,323
7 In & Out 2,834,185 3,713,247 -23.7 6 56,903,720
8 Rocket Man 2,074,078 2,987,753 -30.6 3 11,225,775
9 A Life Less Ordinary 2,007,279 1 2,007,279
10 L.A. Confidential 2,004,099 2,543,752 -21.2 6 29,642,884
Top 5 $ 36,899,846 $ 45,090,408 -18.2
Top 10 49,334,810 58,860,520 -16.2

For a wrapup of the summer, be sure to check The Top 30 Films of the Summer 1997 Box Office Season.

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

    Last Updated : October 28, 1997 at 12:45AM ESTHome