Exceeding expectations, "Ransom" rode roughshod over the competition, turning in the year's second-biggest three-day weekend, after "Twister's" $41-million take in May. (Both "Independence Day" and "Mission: Impossible" exceeded this total during the Friday-through-Sunday portion of their lengthier opening stretches, with $50.2 million and $45.4 million, respectively. But those movies opened on holiday weekends, which gave them an edge, according to Paul Dergarabedian, executive vice president of Exhibitor Relations. The industry does not consider Veterans Day a holiday for box-office purposes.)
The pre-Thanksgiving time slot has proven equally propitious in years past. Opening on the same weekend last year, "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls" took in $37.8 million and "Interview With the Vampire" grossed $36.4 million the year before. Among the other entries, "Romeo & Juliet" and "Sleepers" held firm while the bank heist caper "Set It Off," like "Waiting to Exhale," showed there's a lucrative African American female audience to be tapped.