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Top of the World for Warner Bros.

April 14, 1998|ROBERT W. WELKOS

Warner Bros., which has had difficulty recently finding a hit film, topped the box office chart for the first time in seven months over the weekend as "City of Angels," starring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan, debuted at $15.4 million. The last time the Burbank-based studio came in at No. 1 was Sept. 5 with the Steven Seagal action film "Fire Down Below."

John Krier, president of the box office tracking firm Exhibitor Relations Co., said that none of the films opening this past week fared well with the critics, but in three cases--"City of Angels," "Species II" and "The Players Club"--audiences seemed to overlook whatever darts were flung and went to see the films anyway.

Last week's No. 1 film, New Line's sci-fi film "Lost in Space" slipped to second place this weekend with $13.4 million in ticket sales, while "Titanic" continued to steam along--albeit a bit more slowly--in its 17th week. The film, a joint production of Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox, generated $8.6 million at the box office and has now taken in $542.9 million in North America alone.

The MGM sci-fi sequel "Species II" debuted at $7.3 million for fourth place, while New Line's "The Players Club," which opened Wednesday, took in a respectable $5.9 million.

Two other new films with big expectations turned in lackluster results.

"Neil Simon's Odd Couple II," starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, debuted in seventh place at $4.8 million, a disappointing launch for the two actors who once struck box-office gold as bickering friends in films like "Grumpy Old Men" and "Grumpier Old Men."

The heartwarming new Billy Crystal comedy "My Giant" from Castle Rock Entertainment and Columbia Pictures opened a dismal No. 8 with $3.1 million in ticket sales.

Weekend Box Office

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Three-day gross/ Screens/ Weeks in Movie (Studio) Total (millions) Average Release 1. "City of Angels" $15.4 2,212 1 (Warner Bros.) $15.4 $6,948 2. "Lost in Space" $13.4 3,306 2 (New Line) $40.2 $4,052 3. "Titanic" $8.6 3,265 17 (Paramount/Fox) $542.9 $2,621 4. "Species II" $7.3 2,510 1 (MGM) $7.3 $2,898 5. "The Players Club" $5.9 593 1 (New Line) $8.4 $9,940 6. "Mercury Rising" $5.5 2,399 2 (Universal) $18.8 $2,275 7. "Odd Couple II" $4.8 1,650 1 (Paramount) $4.8 $2,915 8. "My Giant" $3.1 1,948 1 (Sony/Columbia) $3.1 $1,601 9. "Grease" $2.5 2,031 3 [reissue] (Paramount) $24.3 $1,233 10. "Primary Colors" $2.4 1,779 4 (Universal) $32.7 $1,355

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SOURCE: Exhibitor Relations Co.

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