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Weekend Box Office

'Lethal' Has a Winning Formula

July 14, 1998|ROBERT W. WELKOS

Showing remarkable box-office strength for a franchise that many thought was past its prime, the Warner Bros. action film "Lethal Weapon 4," starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, roared to life with $34 million in ticket sales on its opening weekend.

"'Lethal Weapon 4' is doing amazingly well for a fourth installment," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box-office tracking firm Exhibitor Relations Co. He credited the film's diverse cast of Gibson, Glover, Rene Russo, Joe Pesci, Chris Rock and Jet Li for its early success, drawing audiences from various sectors of the moviegoing public.

"Armageddon," starring Bruce Willis, continued doing well for Disney, grossing nearly $100 million in two weeks of release, but whether it will hit $150 million during its domestic run is still a question mark.

Despite heavy competition for younger audiences, "Small Soldiers" did well, debuting at $14 million for DreamWorks SKG. "Small Soldiers" had to contend with the fact that parents had several choices for their children, including "Mulan," "Dr. Dolittle" and Sony's new film, "Madeline."

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Three-day gross/ Screens/ Weeks in Movie (Studio) Total (millions) Average Release 1. "Lethal Weapon 4" $34.0 3,117 1 (Warner Bros.) $34.0 $10,923 2. "Armageddon" $23.6 3,136 2 (Disney/Touchstone) $99.9 $7,512 3. "Small Soldiers" $14.0 2,539 1 (DreamWorks) $14.0 $5,533 4. "Dr. Dolittle" $12.9 2,869 3 (Fox) $89.2 $4,489 5. "Mulan" $7.0 2,756 4 (Disney) $91.9 $2,549 6. "Madeline" $6.4 1,863 1 (Sony/TriStar) $6.4 $3,443 7. "The X-Files" $3.9 1,909 4 (Fox) $74.5 $2,028 8. "Out of Sight" $3.8 1,981 3 (Universal) $30.0 $1,925 9. "Six Days, Seven Nights" $3.7 1,961 5 (Disney/Touchstone) $63.7 $1,885 10. "The Truman Show" $3.6 2,186 6 (Paramount) $116.2 $1,636

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SOURCE: Exhibitor Relations Co.

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