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Weekend Box Office

Eddie Murphy's Charmed 'Life'

April 20, 1999|ROBERT W. WELKOS

The seesaw career of Eddie Murphy continues.

Just when he was trying to live down the box-office bomb "Holy Man," Murphy has rebounded in a big way in the prison comedy "Life," which co-stars comedian Martin Lawrence. The Universal Studios release took in $20.4 million over the weekend to become the biggest April opener ever.

In recent years, Murphy has gone from hit to dud to hit in amazing fashion. It began with "The Nutty Professor," which was a runaway success. Then came "Metro," which had lackluster results. But Murphy roared back in the surprise hit comedy "Doctor Dolittle," only to see his fortunes wane again with "Holy Man" last year. Now, he's back on top.

"It's so strange," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box-office tracking firm Exhibitors Relations Co. "It's like every other movie is a hit. This is one of the toughest careers to decipher and explain."

By today, "The Matrix" will become the first movie released in 1999 to cross the $100-million mark.

Weekend Box Office

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Three-day gross/ Screens/ Weeks in Movie (Studio) Total (millions) Average Release 1. "Life" $20.4 2,594 1 (Universal) $20.4 $7,870 2. "The Matrix" $17.9 2,903 3 (Warner Bros.) $98.9 $6,180 3. "Never Been Kissed" $8.4 2,458 2 (Fox) $22.9 $3,422 4. "Analyze This" $3.9 2,307 7 (Warner Bros.) $91.1 $1,702 5. "10 Things I Hate About You" $3.7 2,311 3 (Disney/Touchstone) $25.1 $1,616 6. "The Out-of-Towners" $3.1 2,119 3 (Paramount) $20.5 $1,470 7. "Go" $3.0 1,563 2 (Sony/Columbia) $9.3 $1,931 8. "Forces of Nature" $2.5 2,214 5 (DreamWorks) $45.8 $1,113 9. "Cookie's Fortune" $1.8 539 3 (October) $3.4 $3,341 10. "Shakespeare in Love" $1.75 1,443 19 (Miramax) $89.9 $1,213 * "Goodbye, Lover" $1.1 865 1 (Warner Bros.) $1.1 $1,169

Movie (Studio) 1. "Life" (Universal) 2. "The Matrix" (Warner Bros.) 3. "Never Been Kissed" (Fox) 4. "Analyze This" (Warner Bros.) 5. "10 Things I Hate About You" (Disney/Touchstone) 6. "The Out-of-Towners" (Paramount) 7. "Go" (Sony/Columbia) 8. "Forces of Nature" (DreamWorks) 9. "Cookie's Fortune" (October) 10. "Shakespeare in Love" (Miramax) * "Goodbye, Lover" (Warner Bros.)

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SOURCE: Exhibitor Relations Co.

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