With ticket sales of $12.5 million, Paramount Pictures' romantic fantasy "Ghost" materialized as the No. 1 picture at the nation's box office over the weekend, surprising industry observers with a high per-screen average of $8,945 on 1,400 screens. That's more than twice the per-screen average of Twentieth Century-Fox's heavy-artillery sequel "Die Hard 2," which ranked second with $10 million.
Equally surprising: the less-than-thrilling ticket sales for the Walt Disney Studio's much-touted spider-invasion movie "Arachnophobia," which ranked third with $8 million in ticket sales (a per-screen average of $5,440), as well as the startling performance of Tri-Star Pictures' comedy, "The Freshman," which earned $34,312 per screen in limited release on six screens in Los Angeles and New York. "The Freshman," about a young man (Matthew Broderick) who inadvertently becomes involved with a "Godfather"-type figure (Marlon Brando, lampooning the role he made famous), widens to more than 1,000 screens on Friday.