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YEAR IN REVIEW / 1996 | In the World of

Movies : Top 10 Findings In Polls About Cultural Issues:

December 29, 1996

1. Only 15% of TV viewers thought Ellen DeGeneres' character on "Ellen" was gay, 41% thought she was straight and 36% said they didn't know or thought she was asexual. (Entertainment Weekly, Oct. 2)

2. More than 40% of readers thought Tori Spelling had worse hair than Marge Simpson. (TV Guide, Aug. 12)

3. Seventy percent of Americans said they change channels or turn the volume down during commercials. (Harris, March 18)

4. The most popular romantic-breakup anthems are Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" for women and Michael Bolton's "When . . ." for men. (KTLA, Feb. 12)

5. Seventy percent of French people feared American culture had an "excessive influence" on French television, 59% cited similar concerns about the impact on French films and 30% expressed fears for French food. (Le Monde, Nov. 3)

6. Five percent of respondents had "no problem at all" with the amount of sex and violence on television and in the movies. (Gallup, May 9)

7. Jerry Seinfeld was the most popular TV star among Democrats while Tim Allen topped the Republicans' choices. (Harris, November)

8. Eighty percent of PTA members would like TV ratings to include separate labeling for the levels of sex, violence and adult language in programs, rather than have a single rating. (New York Times, Nov. 22)

9. Forty-five percent of Americans say they tune in to religious television and radio shows and listen to Christian music. (Washington Post, June 25)

10. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they would rather watch a new episode of a TV program than vote. (New York Times, June 2)

TOP 10 GROSSING MOVIES

Domestically, in 1996 (as of Dec. 16)

1. "Independence Day"/$306.1 million*

2. "Twister"/$241.7 million

3. "Mission: Impossible"/$180.9 million

4. "The Rock"/$134.0 million

5. "The Nutty Professor"/$128.8 million

6. "The Birdcage"/$124.0 million

7. "Ransom"/$117.5 million*

8. "A Time to Kill"/$108.7 million

9. "Phenomenon"/$104.3 million*

10. "The First Wives Club"/$101.7 million*

(* still in theaters)

HIGH BUDGET, LOW GROSS

"The Chamber"--$40 million/$14.3 million

"Long Kiss Goodnight"--$70/$32.2

"Mary Reilly"--$38/$5.7

"Last Man Standing"--$40/$18.1

"City Hall"--$55/$20.3

"The Fan"--$55/$18.6

"Island of Dr. Moreau"--$35/$27.7

"Multiplicity"--$40/$20.9

"The Frighteners"--$30/$16.7

"The Adventures of Pinocchio"--$25/$15.4

"Chain Reaction"--$50/$20.6

"John Carpenter's Escape From L.A."--$50/$25.5

"Heaven's Prisoners"--$25/$5

"The Phantom"--$40/$18

*

THE KIND OF MOVIES JOE ROTH SWEARS DISNEY IS SWEARING OFF: "Celtic Pride," "First Kid," "Kazaam," "Spy Hard," "Eddie," "The Associate"

*

ACCENTUATE THE ACCENT: "Trainspotting," "Fargo," "Small Faces," "Sling Blade," "Michael Collins"

*

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? "Jingle All the Way," "Mary Reilly," "Diabolique," "Faithful," "Barb Wire," "Jack," "Striptease"

*

MPAA RATINGS WE LOVE:

"Twister": PG-13, for intense depiction of very bad weather.

"Space Jam": PG, for some mild cartoon language.

"The Dentist": R, for graphic violence including scenes of dental torture, sexuality and some language.

"Going West": R, for strong violence and several views of nude pinups.

"My Fellow Americans": PG-13, for salty language and innuendo.

*

THE MOTHERS OF ALL OVERBEARING MOVIE MOTHERS: Debbie Reynolds ("Mother"), Julie Christie ("Hamlet"), Lauren Bacall ("The Mirror Has Two Faces"), Shirley MacLaine ("The Evening Star," "Mrs. Winterbourne"), Nathan Lane ("The Birdcage")

*

NEXT TIME, TAKE A CAB: Alicia Silverstone struck pedestrian Bruce Broadmax, 64, on Oct. 29 while driving a Ford Bronco. Kelsey Grammer flipped his Dodge Viper while driving under the influence on Sept. 21 in Malibu Lake area. Robert Downey Jr. was arrested on June 23 on suspicion of possession of narcotics and a concealed gun after being pulled over for driving 70 mph on Pacific Coast Highway. Queen Latifah was arrested on Feb. 3 on charges of carrying a loaded pistol and possession of marijuana after being pulled over for speeding on the Santa Monica Freeway.

*

READY WHEN YOU ARE: "Lolita," "The Fantasticks," "Plump Fiction," "Snow White"

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