The Hollywood Reporter was calling Tri-Star's supposed $5.3-million opening weekend gross for "Short Circuit" "electrifying" last weekend; Daily Variety was calling it a probable fantasy.
Citing varied sources, Variety claimed the figure was inflated by 10% to 15%; it got Tri-Star to admit numbers were based on 75% of the theaters, the rest "estimated."
Ever since Variety alleged that Crown International fudged on "My Chauffeur" grosses last year, it's been double-checking figures. The trade paper uses computerized, city-by-city analyses of exhibitor chains--only too happy to rat on the competition--and Entertainment Data, an L.A. box-office service.
The Reporter accepts figures straight from the studio's mouth, said an insider at the paper. And, "as of now," he said he was unaware of any plans to change procedure.