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'Jurassic' Extends Record-Breaking Lure Worldwide : Box office: Still raking in big bucks in the U.S., the hit is taking Great Britain, Japan and Mexico by storm.

July 19, 1993|DAVID J. FOX | TIMES STAFF WRITER

"Jurassic Park" may be old news by now to many Americans, but it's the hottest ticket in Great Britain, Japan and Mexico, where it has just opened.

Even in the United States, after playing six weekends on more than 2,500 screens, the Steven Spielberg film based on Michael Crichton's novel about a dinosaur theme park that runs amok still ranked No. 3 among the weekend's top-grossing movies. No. 1 was "The Firm," starring Tom Cruise, and No. 2 was "In the Line of Fire," starring Clint Eastwood. Two new films, "Hocus Pocus" and "Free Willy," had modest debuts.

In Great Britain, "Jurassic Park" broke the box-office record for an opening weekend. The film grossed $4.86 million, breaking the record held by "Batman Returns" set in July, 1992.

In Japan, "Jurassic Park" was playing on 235 screens--an unusually high number for that country. Distributor Universal Pictures said on Sunday the expectation is that records will be broken when final numbers are in today. The studio reported that one theater in Osaka took in $381,000 for Friday and Saturday and a Thursday preview. Another in Tokyo had sold $310,000 in the same period. By any measure, those are phenomenal figures, even accounting for the $12-$13 ticket prices in Japan.

In Mexico, the film opened Friday and grossed $1.76 million at 159 theaters. The previous record there was for "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," which grossed $569,076 in its first weekend on 105 screens in October, 1991.

Back in the United States, Paramount Pictures' "The Firm" had a less-than-firm grip on the No. 1 position, according to weekend estimates. "The Firm" was projected to take in $13.1 million for the Friday through Sunday period. But that was only narrowly ahead of the $13 million projected by Columbia Pictures for "In the Line of Fire."

After only three weekends, "The Firm," a dramatic thriller based on the novel by John Grisham, has sold $95.6 million in tickets. Columbia president of domestic distribution Jeff Blake said the total for "In the Line of Fire" is now $36 million after 10 days in theaters and is the fastest moneymaker of any previous Eastwood movie. The film's grosses fell only 15% from its first weekend--a level that is considered very healthy by industry standards.

Sources said Sunday that the weekend's dollar take of about $85 million was well ahead of the comparable weekend a year ago, and that this summer season continues on a track that could eventually surpass the record dollar levels from the summer of 1989. Final numbers are due to be released today.

"Jurassic Park" hovered around $10.5 million for its sixth weekend. With $255.4 million after six weekends, it is now the fourth highest-grossing movie in U.S. history. No. 1 is Spielberg's "E.T.," which grossed $359.2 million in its initial theatrical release in 1982. No. 2 is "Star Wars" with $286.8 million and No. 3 is "Home Alone" with $285.8 million.

Walt Disney Pictures' "Hocus Pocus," starring Bette Midler as a witch, brewed $8.4 million on 1,430 screens for fourth place. In fifth, with $7.8 million, was "Free Willy," the Warner Bros. family film about a captured whale.

The romantic comedy "Sleepless in Seattle," starring Tom Hanks an Meg Ryan, ranked sixth with $7.6 million. The TriStar Pictures film has accumulated an impressive $72 million after four weekends.

Among other top grossers: "Rookie of the Year," $6.7 million; "Son in Law," $3.6 million; "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," $3.5 million; and "Dennis the Menace," $2.5 million.

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