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Weekend Box Office

'Wedding' Hears Cash-Register Bells

February 18, 1998|ROBERT W. WELKOS

While romantic epic "Titanic" kept steaming along at the box office, scrappy New Line Cinema scored the real surprise of the weekend when the Adam Sandler-Drew Barrymore romantic comedy "The Wedding Singer" opened at nearly $22 million over the four-day Presidents Day holiday weekend.

That makes "The Wedding Singer" the second-highest grossing romantic comedy ever behind "My Best Friend's Wedding" ($21.7 million for a three-day opening). It had the biggest opening of any film on Presidents Day weekend, surpassing 1992's "Wayne's World" ($18.1 million).

"I sure would have liked to have opened this film without 'Titanic' in the market, but with almost $22 million with 'Titanic' in the market it's incredible," said Al Shapiro, New Line's president of domestic theatrical distribution.

Shapiro credited Sandler and Barrymore for the publicity push they gave the movie. "Adam was out visiting theaters all weekend and Drew was out there with him," Shapiro said.

Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox, which co-financed "Titanic" along with Paramount Pictures, announced that the film has already taken in $441 million overseas, posting the biggest openings ever in Poland, Norway, Peru and Lebanon, taking 35% of the weekend's box office in Italy, and becoming the highest-grossing movie ever released in Brazil, surpassing "Ghost."

Last week's Oscar nominations gave a boost to a number of films, especially "L.A. Confidential," which made it back to the top 10 list. Buoyed by publicity from its nine nominations, Warner Bros.' decision to screen the film more widely and the holiday weekend, "Confidential's" box office jumped 677% this week.

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Weekend Box Office

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Four-day gross/ Screens/ Weeks in Movie (Studio) Total (millions) Average Release 1. "Titanic" $32.9 3,002 9 (Paramount/Fox) $376.3 $10,952 2. "The Wedding Singer" $21.9 2,821 1 (New Line) $21.9 $7,769 3. "Sphere" $16.6 2,814 1 (Warner Bros.) $16.6 $5,894 4. "Good Will Hunting" $9.3 2,172 11 (Miramax) $79.7 $4,261 5. "As Good as It Gets" $7.4 1,801 8 (Sony/TriStar) $101.6 $4,125 6. "The Borrowers" $6.1 1,535 1 (PolyGram) $6.1 $3,958 7. "The Replacement Killers" $4.7 1,936 2 (Sony/Columbia) $14.7 $2,430 8. "Great Expectations" $3.7 1,745 3 (Fox) $22.1 $2,099 9. "Blues Brothers 2000" $3.6 2,516 2 (Universal) $10.8 $1,420 10. "L.A. Confidential" $3.3 814 22 (Warner Bros.) $45.5 $4,030

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SOURCE: Exhibitor Relations Co.

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