The curtain drops on the summer movie season this weekend with the spectral romance of "Ghost" winning the most moviegoers' hearts, surpassing such big-budget thrillers as "Total Recall" and "Die Hard 2."
Tom Cruise's "Days of Thunder" faded early. The much-hyped "Dick Tracy" failed to fire up the box office for long.
Bruce Willis' "Die Hard 2" did well, but wasn't tops. And "RoboCop 2" quickly ran out of power.
Not even the industry's most prescient prognosticators picked "Ghost" to scare up the most business.
A modest supernatural thriller starring Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg, "Ghost" today should pass Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Total Recall" to reach the box-office's top spot with more than $115 million at the gate, Paramount Pictures says.
"It's so far away from what's out there this summer," "Ghost" producer Howard W. Koch said. "The audience said, 'No more four-letter words. I don't want to see anybody blown up.' It's about time people can be in love with one another and not feel embarrassed."
Said Bruce Corwin, president of Southern California's Metropolitan movie theater chain: "This summer had an abundance of action-oriented films and they just fought each other. . . . 'Ghost' was huge, a pleasant surprise to everyone."
In a season loaded with several overblown sequels and richly budgeted action films, most performed only moderately well.
Paramount's "Days of Thunder," for instance, has made $79 million, just a few million more than Cruise's 1988 "Cocktail." The studio's "Another 48 HRS.," with Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte, grossed $78.7 million. Universal's "Back to the Future Part III" made $83.6 million, compared to the $110 million collected by "Back to the Future Part II."
As is certain in a season as crowded as this summer, there were a number of bombs. They included Jack Nicholson's "The Two Jakes," the Middle East drama "Navy SEALs," Bill Cosby in "Ghost Dad" and "Betsy's Wedding."
TOP SUMMER FILMS
According to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc., this summer's Top 10 films were: 1. Ghost 2. Total Recall 3. Die Hard 2 4. Dick Tracy 5. Back to the Future Part III 6. Days of Thunder 7. Another 48 HRS. 8. Bird on a Wire 9. Presumed Innocent 10. Arachnophobia