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OUTTAKES THE SEQUEL

Small Haul

July 12, 1987|From John M. Wilson \f7

Warner Bros. is presenting a calm front in the wake of the meager $4.7-million gross for the three-day July 4 opening weekend of "Innerspace." But one insider tells us the situation there has been "panicked." And when we called last week to ask about any new ad campaign/publicity strategy, a secretary told us, "You couldn't have called at a worse time--they're all in a meeting on it."

The tepid box office came after generally strong reviews (a rave from Time, praise from our own Sheila Benson, kudos from both trade papers, etc.) and positive industry word-of-mouth. It should be noted that industrywide grosses were down about $10 million overall from the previous weekend, despite the extra day, and "Innerspace" faced strong competition.

The studio plans to keep the pic on about 1,600 screens for the foreseeable future and its stars very visible in coming days in the media.

A new TV campaign incorporating the raves is already on the air. And that hard (for some) to comprehend print ad of a teensy figure pinched between forefinger and thumb has given way to a cheery picture of stars Dennis Quaid, Martin Short and Meg Ryan.

About the altered newspaper ad campaign, a Warners spokesman said, "It's usual to prepare an additional look and we chose to go with it." The print ad changed just as quickly, he pointed out, for Universal's "Harry and the Hendersons" a month earlier.

Yes, but that film--also from exec producer Steven Spielberg--had a similar disappointing opening weekend. Business picked up a bit and after 31 days last weekend, "Harry" had grossed $22.8 million.

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