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The Summer's Other Hitting Streak : The major studios are on a record pace, slugging at least 11 films into $100-million territory. The final tally will approach $3 billion.

August 31, 1999|RICHARD NATALE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A gross of $4 million or more is considered a breakout hit in the specialized market, according to Barker.

MGM marketing head Jerry Rich describes "Tea With Mussolini," a World War II period drama starring Cher and Dame Judi Dench, as the "antidote" to teen movies. Not surprisingly, literary films such as "An Ideal Husband," "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Tea" fared best, but "The Red Violin" and "Run Lola Run" were also very strong, as was Wim Wenders' Cuban-based musical documentary "Buena Vista Social Club," one of the better-performing nonfiction films in recent years.

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Weekend Box Office

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Three-day gross/ Screens/ Weeks in Movie (Studio) Total (millions) Average Release 1. "The Sixth Sense" $20.1 2,763 4 (Disney/Hollywood) $138.9 $7,274 2. "The 13th Warrior" $10.3 2,306 1 (Disney/Touchstone) $10.3 $4,453 3. "Runaway Bride" $6.8 3,090 5 (Paramount) $124.4 $2,214 4. "Bowfinger" $6.6 2,732 3 (Universal) $46.4 $2,410 5. "Mickey Blue Eyes" $5.4 2,573 2 (Warner Bros.) $19.7 $2,109 6. "The Thomas Crown Affair" $4.6 2,095 4 (MGM) $49.8 $2,205 7. "In Too Deep" $4.2 667 1 (Dimension) $5.8 $6,327 8. "The Blair Witch Project" $4.2 2,352 7 (Artisan) $128.1 $1,794 9. "The Astronaut's Wife" $4.0 2,209 1 (New Line) $4.0 $1,823 10. "The Muse" $3.9 1,263 1 (USA Films) $3.9 $3,109 "Dudley Do-Right" $3.0 1,802 1 (Universal) $3.0 $1,675 "A Dog of Flanders" $807,873 1,267 1 (Warner Bros.) $807,873 $638 "Life Is Beautiful" $63,934 15 1 (English version) (Miramax) $57.3 $4,262 "The Very Thought of You" $29,692 5 1 (Miramax) $29,692 $5,938

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SOURCE: Exhibitor Relations Co.

Hot Numbers

Projected final grosses for the top dozen films of the summer season:

"Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace": $425 million

"The Sixth Sense": $210 million

"Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me": $205 million

"Tarzan": $170 million

"Big Daddy": $160 million

"The Mummy": $155 million

"Runaway Bride": $145 million

"The Blair Witch Project": $140 million

"Notting Hill": $115 million

"Wild Wild West": $112 million

"The General's Daughter": $105 million

"American Pie": $100 million

Source: Exhibitor Relations Co.

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