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National Video Rentals : Top 10 Shapes Up as Real Horse Race

March 18, 1994|DENNIS HUNT

Because of the unusually large number of releases in the last few weeks, the Top 10 is taking on a new look, with half the movies entering in the last two weeks--a very high turnover for this chart. "Demolition Man," a hit ($57.2-million gross) starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes, entered at No. 3 and could take over No. 1 in the next few weeks. This is the kind of no-nonsense action flick that genre fans love. It may have trouble, though, with the red-hot "The Fugitive," which should enter the chart next week. "Striking Distance," an action/mystery starring Bruce Willis, did OK box-office business for this kind of movie ($23.8 million) but should attract a sizable home-video audience. That's largely because Willis is a huge rental-market star due to his "Die Hard" movies. In its first week, "Striking Distance" is already within striking distance of the top, entering at No. 4. Looks like the last Top 10 gasp for "Last Action Hero," which slipped from No. 3 to No. 10. The Top 10 tenure of this January release was unusually short for an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. "The Man Without a Face," featuring Mel Gibson as a recluse with a scarred face, moved up from No. 7 to No. 2. Clearly, to his legion of female fans who are doing the renting, he's more than just another pretty face.

Rank Weeks Last on the Week Chart 1. "In the Line of Fire" 1 4 2. "The Man Without a Face" 7 3 3. "Demolition Man" ... 1 4. "Striking Distance" ... 1 5. "The Program" 12 3 6. "Sleepless in Seattle" 4 12 7. "Hard Target" 2 6 8. "Son-in-Law" 19 2 9. "The Firm" 5 11 10. "Last Action Hero" 3 6 * "Much Ado About Nothing" ... 1

* "Much Ado About Nothing" did much better than Shakespeare usually does on the screen, grossing $22.5 million. But director-star Kenneth Branagh made it more palatable to mass tastes. The star-studded cast--including Emma Thompson and Denzel Washington--helped lure moviegoers, too. It debuted at No. 16 and should make it to the Top 10. If Thompson wins another Oscar on Monday, this movie will be even more attractive to renters.

Source: Billboard Publications Inc.

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