The summer box-office derby features a crowded field this year, and a sequel is pacing the group.
According to a spokesman for the studio, Columbia's "The Karate Kid Part II" took in a whopping $40.7 million in its first 17 days of release and continues to be the box-office champ.
"Karate's" numbers would have been even higher, but the studio offered free 10 a.m. screenings last Saturday at 885 jammed theaters, where lines started forming as early as 6:30 a.m. at some locations.
While Disney's "Ruthless People" opened to softer business than the studio originally anticipated, the black comedy held up well in its first 12 days of wide release, taking in about $15.5 million. "The picture is gaining a lot of momentum," said Dick Cook, senior vice president of domestic distribution for Walt Disney Productions. "It opened to a very crowded field but the word of mouth is quite strong." Look for "Ruthless" to hold on and possibly improve this weekend.