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Weekend Box Office : A Happy Holiday in the Theaters

January 18, 1995|ELAINE DUTKA

Despite considerable competition from the AFC and NFC football championships, this four-day stretch numbered among the top-grossing non-summer holiday weekends of all time, beating out those of Christmas and Memorial Day last year.

"The numbers are unprecedented for a Martin Luther King weekend," says Barry London, vice chairman of Paramount Pictures. "As always, it boils down to 'product.' There's a diverse array of films in the marketplace skewing to each demographic group."

The first and second place finishes of "Legends of the Fall" and "Higher Learning," respectively, brought a welcome relief to Sony's long-standing dry spell. The performance of John Singleton's story of campus life had one of the best openings ever for an African American-themed movie, crossing over into mainstream audiences--particularly the college crowd. Despite exhibitors' fears that "Nobody's Fool," starring Paul Newman and the late Jessica Tandy, had little drawing power, the numbers suggest there's room for pictures aimed at the older set. Driven by young males and females, the horror offering "Tales From the Crypt Presents Demon Knight" also opened strong.

Weekend Gross/ Screens/ Weeks in Movie (Studio) Total (millions) Average Release 1. "Legends of the Fall" $14.0 2,005 4 (TriStar) $15.0 $7,002 2. "Higher Learning" $13.3 1,409 1 (Columbia) $17.0 $9,423 3. "Demon Knight" $10.0 1,729 1 (Universal) $10.0 $5,795 4. "Dumb and Dumber" $9.5 2,533 5 (New Line) $91.0 $3,742 5. "Nobody's Fool" $7.1 792 4 (Paramount) $7.7 $9,018 6. "Houseguest" $6.4 1,604 2 (Disney/Hollywood) $13.5 $3,975 7. "Disclosure" $5.6 1,948 6 (Warner Bros.) $69.5 $2,899 8. "Little Women" $4.6 1,535 4 (Columbia) $33.7 $3,005 9. "The Jungle Book" $4.27 1,796 4 (Walt Disney) $33.2 $2,380 10. "Yellow Dog" $4.23 1,217 1 (Fox) $4.23 2,665

SOURCE: Exhibitor Relations Co.

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