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."