‘Die Hard 2’ Mows Down the Competition : Movies: The shoot-'em-up sequel starring Bruce Willis may be Hollywood’s first breakaway hit with a $35.5-million opening. It raced past ‘Days of Thunder’ for the No. 1 post.


After weeks of great expectations that haven’t panned out, Hollywood may finally have a breakaway summer hit. “Die Hard 2,” the seventh, and last, of the summer’s high-profile movies, racked up ticket sales of $35.5 million during its 5 1/2-day opening--for the fourth biggest opening ever.

The Twentieth Century-Fox sequel, which opened to special previews on 1,828 screens last Tuesday night, then broadened to 2,378 screens on July 4 and to 2,506 screens on Friday, had weekend ticket sales of $21.7 million, for a $8,661 per-screen average.

Tri-Star’s “Total Recall” still has the best weekend receipts of the summer, having taken in $25.5 million during its May opening, but industry analysts say that a midweek opening traditionally depletes the ensuing weekend’s figures.

“Die Hard 2,” which again stars Bruce Willis as a wise-cracking off-duty cop fighting terrorists, this time in a Washington airport, knocked Paramount Pictures’ “Days of Thunder” out of the No. 1 spot on the box-office chart. Despite a heavy second-week publicity schedule by Cruise, business on “Days of Thunder” dropped 30% to $10.7 million.

But even with “Die Hard 2" and “Days of Thunder” in the early segments of their runs, summer business is still off from last year’s record pace. The cumulative sales of the top 10 films this weekend totaled $64 million compared to $78.8 million for the top 10 films in release at the same time a year ago.


Walt Disney Studios’ “Dick Tracy” dropped 33%, grossing $6.6 million, but still held on to third place. The comic book adventure has now taken in $78 million in four weeks.

Despite generally bad reviews, Universal Pictures’ “The Jetsons” took in about $5 million from the family trade to rank fourth. It was a good news/bad news weekend for the studio, however; its Bill Cosby comedy, “Ghost Dad,” saw a 35% drop from opening weekend business and fell from sixth to eighth place.

Tri-Star’s “Total Recall” finished fifth with $4.2 million and with total receipts at $99.2 million, it ended the weekend just a few showings short of the $100 million mark.

Meanwhile, Orion Pictures’ “RoboCop 2,” which dropped 50% in its second weekend, continued its descent. With third weekend ticket sales of $3.6 million--a 42% drop--it went from fourth place to seventh. Its total grosses are now $32.6 million.

Warner Bros.’ “Gremlins 2: The New Batch,” also tumbled 42%, from seventh to ninth place. With ticket sales of $2.6 million, the sequel to the 1984 blockbuster has now grossed just $34.4 million.

“Die Hard 2’s” $36 million opening ranks fourth on the industry’s opening hits list, following “Back to the Future II” ($43 million in five days), “Batman” ($42.7 million in four days) and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” ($37 million in four days).

Additionally, it out-performed “Lethal Weapon II,” which opened this time last year to a strong $20.3 million.


Movie Weekend Screens/ Weeks in Total (Studio) Gross Average Release Gross 1."Die Hard 2" $21.7 2,507 1 $35.5 (Fox) Million $8,661 Million 2."Days of Thunder” $10.7 2,307 2 $40.5 (Paramount) Million $4,641 Million 3."Dick Tracy” $6.6 2,209 4 $81.7 (Buena Vista) Million $3,005 Million 4."The Jetsons” $5 1,562 1 $5 (Universal) Million $3,220 Million 5."Total Recall” $4.2 1,787 6 $99.2 (Tri-Star) Million $2,360 Million

SOURCES: Exhibitor Relations Co.