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.