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Weekend Box Office : 'Stargate' Has MGM Starry-Eyed

November 01, 1994|ELAINE DUTKA

MGM's "Stargate," a sci-fi picture starring Kurt Russell, James Spader and Jaye Davidson, registered a walloping $16.7 million at the box office--taking the industry by surprise and bettering the studio's own pre-weekend estimate by nearly $5 million. The opening was the best ever for a September or October release and MGM's second highest after "Rocky IV," which opened at $19.9 million in 1985.

"With mixed reviews and no star with the box-office clout of a (Sylvester) Stallone or a (Arnold) Schwarzenegger, we never expected anything this big," says Larry Gleason, MGM's president of worldwide distribution. "People may be a little weary of the darker, violent material and looking for an old-fashioned Saturday matinee popcorn movie. 'Stargate' is playing to everyone--senior citizens as well as kids--doing as well in Boise, Idaho, as in Manhattan. Its success proves that MGM is off and running, as capable of record-setting grosses as any other studio." MGM has had a sluggish release slate prior to "Stargate."

* While such films as "Squanto," "Silent Fall" and "The Road to Wellville" turned in disappointing openings, Woody Allen fans continued to turn out for his "Bullets Over Broadway," which racked up a $13,933 per-screen average on 36 screens nationwide.

Weekend Gross/ Screens/ Weeks in Movie (Studio) Total (millions) Average Release 1. "Stargate" $16.7 2,033 1 (MGM) $16.7 $8,190 2. "Pulp Fiction" $5.7 1,494 3 (Miramax) $30.6 $3,808 3. "The Specialist" $4.0 2,363 4 (Warner Bros.) $43.6 $1,678 4. "Love Affair" $3.6 1,585 2 (Warner Bros.) $10.8 $2,279 5. "The Road to Wellville" $2.58 806 1 (Columbia) $2.58 $3,201 6. "The River Wild" $2.57 1,901 5 (Universal) $36.8 $1,350 7. "Little Giants" $2.3 1,954 3 (Warner Bros.) $12.9 $1,179 8. "Wes Craven's New Nightmare" $2.0 1,873 3 (New Line) $14.5 $1,071 9. "Forrest Gump" $1.9 1,580 17 (Paramount) $286.3 $1,178 10. "Silent Fall" $1.5 1,251 1 (Warner Bros.) $1.5 $1,224 * "Bullets Over Broadway" $537,590 36 2 (Miramax) $674,294 $13,933

SOURCE: Exhibitor Relations Co.

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