'Recall' Totally Outdistances 'Future' in Box-Office Race : Movies: Schwarzenegger's sci-fi flick opens with $25.5 million. But it only just edges the 'Turtles' ' $25.3-million record.


Michael J. Fox was no match for muscleman Arnold Schwarzenegger at the weekend box office. With ticket sales of $25.5 million, Tri-Star Pictures' "Total Recall"--which sends Schwarzenegger to Mars--sent the box office into hyperspace for the year's biggest three-day opening.

"Total Recall" edged out the previous record-holder, New Line Cinema's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," by a hair: the "Turtles" opened with $25.3 million.

With its startling victory, the R-rated "Total Recall"--which opened to mixed reviews--got the summer movie sweepstakes war off to a formidable start and marked Schwarzenegger's successful re-entry to the action-adventure genre following a string of titles which misfired at the box office. (Among them: "Red Heat" (1988), which earned $29 million; "Predator" (1987), $25 million; "The Running Man" (1987), $27 million.)

Meanwhile, Universal Pictures' "Back to the Future III," starring Fox as time-traveling teen Marty McFly, continued in the tradition of "Future II," which had a strong opening (last November) and then spiraled downward.

The second-place ranked "Future III" had ticket sales of $10.3 million, following its splashy Memorial Day holiday weekend debut, in which it earned $23.7 million over four days. This represents a tumble of more than 50%, which doesn't bode well for the box office future of "Future III."

Continuing on its successful flight, Universal's "Bird on a Wire," was ranked third, with ticket sales of $6.3 million. The action-comedy starring Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn, has now flown off with more than $42 million.

With ticket sales of $4.7 million, Touchstone Pictures' "Pretty Woman" came in fourth.

Orion Pictures' Robin Williams' comedy, "Cadillac Man," came in a sputtering fifth, with ticket sales of $2.8 million.

Touchstone's "Fire Birds," about Apache attack helicopters fighting the war on drugs, also sputtered to sixth place, with earnings of $2.6 million in its second week, after opening to $6.3 million its first weekend.

The Schwarzenegger film's entry also marks a victorious end to a decade-long Hollywood quest to bring Phillip K. Dick's short story, "I Can Remember It for You Wholesale"--about a man with a memory implant--to the screen. After several false starts--and stops--Carolco Pictures finally succeeded in teaming Schwarzenegger with "RoboCop" director Paul Verhoeven.

Set on both Earth and Mars in the year 2084, the science fiction epic reportedly required a budget of nearly $70 million.

Now it must face tough opposition in the coming weeks, warring against Eddie Murphy-Nick Nolte re-teaming in "Another 48 HRS." (opening Friday), Warren Beatty's long-awaited "Dick Tracy" (June 15), "Gremlins II: The New Batch" (also June 15) and Tom Cruise's race car movie, "Days of Thunder" (June 27).

For the Record Los Angeles Times Friday June 8, 1990 Home Edition Calendar Part F Page 18 Column 1 Entertainment Desk 1 inches; 30 words Type of Material: Correction Stalking grosses--The Arnold Schwarzenegger movie "Predator" grossed $65 million during its release in the United States and Canada. The figure was incorrectly reported as $25 million in Tuesday's Calendar.
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