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Company Town | BOX-OFFICE ANALYSIS

'Private Ryan' Enlists Public; 'Mafia!' No Hit

July 28, 1998|RICHARD NATALE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

"Saving Private Ryan" looks as if it could be at least as strong a performer as Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List"--in fact, Tom Hanks' appeal could very well boost "Ryan" much further. A better fix on the film's ultimate potential won't be possible for a week or two, however. The production cost a modest (by today's standards) $65 million, with the total investment overall a bit over $100 million when worldwide marketing is factored in. Break-even ($200 million worldwide box office), at least, seems virtually certain.

Disney's "Mafia!" is looking like a casualty. Domestic box office is not likely to cover even its modest marketing costs.

MGM's "Disturbing Behavior" may just squeak by without a loss. It has a smaller nut to crack, and should just break even after the revenue from all sources is counted, including the $5 million MGM received from Village Roadshow for foreign rights.

"Something About Mary" now looks to be a breakout hit with a good shot at $100 million based on its astounding second-week performance. After a moderate start, "Armageddon" has continued to attract action fans despite strong competition, and it may turn out to be Disney's biggest-grossing live-action film ever.

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