June 5, 1989 |
Can a performance be both perfunctory and truly great at the same time? This is the question that arises when the Ramones--a national treasure, an American institution--come to town each year to do another amazing-on-its-own-terms show that's largely indistinguishable from the previous year. That they rarely show signs of growth somehow doesn't diminish the historical brilliance of their conceit. The new album from punk's founding fathers, "Brain Drain," is one of the lesser efforts of a 13-year recording career.
May 10, 1989 |
Movie (National ranking) Weekend Gross Screens/Avg. Weeks (Studio) (National) (National) Released 1. Field of Dreams (3) $119,586 7 / $17,084 3 (Universal) ($5.4 million) (633 / $8,570) 2. K-9 (1) $89,720 11 / $8,156 2 (Universal) ($6.4 million) (1,700 / $3,790) 3. Pet Sematary (2) $57,004 12 / $4,750 3 (Paramount) ($6.3 million) (1,585 / $3,999) 4. Major League (4) $51,111 11 / $4,646 5 (Paramount) ($3.5 million) (1,557 / $2,308) 5. Criminal Law (5) $36,198 10 / $3,620 2 (Hemdale) ($1.9 million)
May 9, 1989 |
It isn't unusual for a horror film to open big. But it is rare for one to continue drawing ticket holders at the rate of Paramount's "Pet Sematary." Despite being nearly universally panned by critics, the Stephen King picture has topped the lineup since it opened three weeks ago. Last weekend, "Pet Sematary" grossed $6.3 million at 1,585 theaters, an average of $3,999 per screen. Universal's "K-9," starring James Belushi and a dog, edged into the No. 1 spot, grossing $6.4 million at 1,700 theaters, a per-screen average of $3,790.
May 4, 1989 |
Like a creature from one of his horror novels, he is both Stephen King and Stephen King Kong. Each of his 21 novels and three anthologies has been a best seller. There have been 17 movies in 13 years; at least five more are in the works. And even after three film flops in a row--"Firestarter," "Cat's Eye," "Silver Bullet"--King still had enough clout that he was allowed to direct "Maximum Overdrive." King chooses a couch in his office, and prepares to chat up "Pet Sematary," the new film he adapted from his 1983 novel.
April 25, 1989 |
"Sometimes dead is better"--even at the box office. The Stephen King horror picture carrying that epigram, "Pet Sematary," defied the critics and opened at blockbuster levels, grossing $12 million at 1,585 theaters, an average of $7,600 per screen. It was the biggest opening in recent memory during the traditionally slow period between New Years Day and Memorial Day, according to John Krier, president of Exhibitor Relations.
April 24, 1989 |
"Pet Sematary" (citywide) finds Stephen King at his farthest out, never more simultaneously compelling and repelling, but there's no denying that in Mary Lambert he has a director who can go the distance and make the contradiction work. No doubt King's multitudinous fans will have flocked to the film on opening weekend, but it's going to be fascinating to see if--or how soon--backlash sets in. There's a big difference between that which is depicted on the printed page and on the big screen, and movies--so far--haven't gotten much more gruesome or disturbing than "Pet Sematary."