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'Private Ryan' Maintains Its Ground

Weekend Box Office

August 11, 1998|ROBERT W. WELKOS

Three weeks after hitting the beach, "Saving Private Ryan" continued to plow ahead at the box office, taking in $17.4 million to remain in first place.

" 'Saving Private Ryan' is taking on all comers and winning," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box-office tracking firm Exhibitor Relations Co. "It's the must-see picture right now. Everyone who hasn't seen it wants to see it, and others who have seen it--as painful as it is--are going back."

The real weekend battle occurred over second place, as Nicolas Cage's new thriller "Snake Eyes" edged out Jamie Lee Curtis' new slasher film "Halloween: H20." Despite debuting at No. 2 with "Snake Eyes," Cage has had a remarkable string of recent box-office hits with "City of Angels," "Face/Off," "Con Air" and "The Rock" all opening at No. 1.

This weekend also marked the first time that one of the "Halloween" movies was released during the summer--previously, they had all opened in October or September. Dimension Films moved up the release date of "Halloween: H20" from Sept. 25 to Aug. 28 to, finally, last Wednesday on the strength of positive pre-release test screenings, and the decision seems to have paid off.

Overall, the summer box office is up about 11% compared to last year even though no film has hit the $200-million mark yet in ticket sales. "There's Something About Mary," meanwhile, continues its steady march to $100 million, while two family films, "The Parent Trap" and "Ever After," fared well in their second weeks.

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Weekend Box Office

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Three-day gross/ Screens/ Weeks in Movie (Studio) Total (millions) Average Release 1. "Saving Private Ryan" $17.4 2,592 3 (DreamWorks) $103.8 $6,712 2. "Snake Eyes" $16.3 2,713 1 (Paramount) $16.3 $6,012 3. "Halloween: H20" $16.2 2,607 1 (Miramax/Dimension) $24.8 $6,209 4. "There's Something About Mary" $9.6 2,109 4 (Fox) $76.6 $4,564 5. "The Parent Trap" $8.1 2,402 2 (Disney) $32.4 $3,383 6. "Ever After" $7.7 2,067 2 (Fox) $22.5 $3,723 7. "The Negotiator" $6.5 2,436 2 (Warner Bros.) $25.0 $2,670 8. "The Mask of Zorro" $5.5 2,436 4 (Sony/TriStar) $71.6 $2,261 9. "Armageddon" $5.3 2,436 6 (Disney/Touchstone) $172.8 $2,505 10. "Lethal Weapon 4" $4.7 2,329 5 (Warner Bros.) $116.2 $2,035

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SOURCE: Exhibitor Relations Co.

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