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'Ransom' Higher Than Expected

Weekend Box Office

November 12, 1996|ELAINE DUTKA

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.

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Weekend Gross/ Screens/ Weeks in Movie (Studio) Total (millions) Average Release 1. "Ransom" $34.2 2,676 1 (Disney/Touchstone) $34.2 $12,786 2. "Romeo & Juliet" $9.0 1,950 2 (Fox) $23.5 $4,629 3. "Set It Off" $8.8 1,014 1 (New Line) $11.8 $8,690 4. "Sleepers" $3.7 2,080 4 (Warner Bros.) $43.6 $1,787 5. "High School High" $3.1 2,146 3 (TriStar) $16.8 $1,436 6. "First Wives Club" $2.2 1,700 8 (Paramount) $97.1 $1,319 7. "Larger Than Life" $2.0 2,433 2 (MGM/UA) $6.6 $829 8. "Ghost and the Darkness" $1.7 1,711 5 (Paramount) $34.6 $1,009 9. "Dear God" $1.5 1,774 2 (Paramount) $5.6 $850 10. "Michael Collins" $1.4 878 5 (Warner Bros.) $8.2 $1,604

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SOURCE: Exhibitor Relations Co.

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