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Weekend Box Office

'Rumble' Is Where the Action Is

February 27, 1996|ROBERT W. WELKOS

American moviegoers have more than enough action heroes, but this weekend saw another one emerge--from Asia. Jackie Chan's "Rumble in the Bronx" came in No. 1 at the box office with $9.9 million in ticket sales.

For New Line Cinema, which distributed the film, it was a victory for everyone in its marketing department who decided early on not to market the movie as a martial arts film but as a big action film.

"When I first got this movie, my basic Midwest cynicism snuck in as a marketeer," said Chris Pula, president of marketing at New Line. "I had to look and say, 'Why does this country need another action star?' There doesn't seem to be a perceived need for it. And, here we had this 41-year-old, real sweet guy, but he's not a 7-foot-4-inch Aryan wall of muscle that this country is used to seeing." In fact, Pula added, a San Francisco newspaper said Chan looks like an "Asian Tom Hayden," not an action star.

But Pula said New Line decided that while Chan doesn't make it in the looks category or the age category, "he does his own stunts and does them in a way you've never seen them done before."

Also, New Line stressed Chan's comedy--"a Buster Keaton/Charlie Chaplin balletic humor," Pula said, "one that is very much deeper than that kind of humor normally found in the genre."

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Weekend Gross/ Screens/ Weeks in Movie (Studio) Total (millions) Average Release 1. "Rumble in the Bronx" $9.9 1,736 1 (New Line) $9.9 $5,679 2. "Broken Arrow" $8.4 2,372 3 (Fox) $44.8 $3,539 3. "Muppet Treasure Island" $6.5 2,089 2 (Disney) $18.9 $3,124 4. "Happy Gilmore" $6.3 2,025 2 (Universal) $18.5 $3,115 5. "Mr. Holland's Opus" $5 1,599 5 (Disney/Hollywood) $56.7 $3,162 6. "City Hall" $4.4 1,815 2 (Sony/Columbia) $13.8 $2,405 7. "Before and After" $4 1,313 1 (Disney/Hollywood) $4 $3,065 8. "Mary Reilly" $2.8 1,470 1 (Sony/TriStar) $2.8 $1,913 9. "Mr. Wrong" $2.8 1,487 2 (Disney/Touchstone) $9.7 $1,873 10. "Dean Man Walking" $2.3 757 8 (Gramercy) $21.2 $3,037 * "Unforgettable" $1.4 1,573 1 (MGM/UA) $1.4 $917

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* "Unforgettable," a film about a beautiful scientist (Linda Fiorentino) who has a serum that a suspected killer believes may bring back the memories of his slain wife, did poorly in its first weekend of release. The MGM/UA release took in only $1.4 million on 1,573 screens.

SOURCE: Exhibitor Relations Co.

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