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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE : ‘Gorillas,’ ‘Punchline’ Score Big

<i> Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press</i>

“Gorillas in the Mist,” an account of the cantankerous anthropologist Dian Fossey and her controversial work to save Africa’s dwindling gorilla population, made an impressive showing in its first weekend of wide release. “Gorillas,” starring Sigourney Weaver, grossed $3.5 million at 558 theaters, averaging $6,185 per screen. Universal, which had nabbed only 7% of the summer market, could use the autumn pick-me-up.

* Despite mixed reviews, Columbia’s “Punchline” broke October records for film openings at theaters in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto. (It also played in Chicago.) The film grossed $160,742 at four screens, averaging $40,205 per screen. Next weekend “Punchline” plays on 758 screens.

Weekend Gross/ Screens/ Weeks Movie (Studio) Total (millions) Average in Release 1. “Gorillas in the Mist” $3.5 558 2 (Universal) $4.0 $6,185 2. “Heartbreak Hotel” $2.06 1,338 1 (Touchstone/Disney) $2.06 $1,542 3. “A Fish Called Wanda” $2.05 1,122 12 (MGM/UA) $51.1 $1,828 4. “Dead Ringers” $2.04 1,048 2 (20th Century Fox) $5.5 $1,943 5. “Die Hard” $2.02 1,213 12 (20th Century Fox) $70.8 $1,661 * “Punchline” $.161 4 1 (Columbia) $.161 $40,205

SOURCE: Exhibitor Relations Co.

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