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‘Ryan’ Lands With a Big Splash

Mission accomplished.

“Saving Private Ryan” surprised the film industry with its strong opening, bringing in $30.6 million at the weekend box office despite an R rating for its realistic war scenes.

“It’s not surprising that it did so well, given the cast [Tom Hanks, Matt Damon and Edward Burns] and [director Steven] Spielberg, but I think a lot of people expected the level of violence and intensity of the film might cut into the box office,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations Inc., a box-office tracking firm. “I think, ultimately, all that talk actually boosted the box office,” he added.

The gross-out comedy “There’s Something About Mary” dropped only about 8% from its debut weekend, taking in $12.5 million.

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“That’s proof of strong word of mouth,” Dergarabedian said. “It’s sort of the sleeper hit of the summer. To see only an 8% drop is pretty astounding for a widely released film.”

Weekend Box Office

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Three-day gross/ Screens/ Weeks in Movie (Studio) Total (millions) Average Release 1. “Saving Private Ryan” $30.6 2,463 1 (DreamWorks) $30.6 $12,414 2. “The Mask of Zorro” $13.4 2,515 2 (Sony/TriStar) $47.3 $5,334 3. “Lethal Weapon 4" $13.1 3,117 3 (Warner Bros.) $94.6 $4,217 4. “Something About Mary” $12.5 2,188 2 (Fox) $40.9 $5,731 5. “Armageddon” $11.2 3,127 4 (Disney/Touchstone) $149.6 $3,569 6. “Dr. Dolittle” $7.3 2,509 5 (Fox) $118.0 $2,908 7. “Disturbing Behavior” $7.1 1,842 1 (MGM/UA) $7.1 $3,839 8. “Mafia!” $6.6 1,942 1 (Disney/Touchstone) $6.6 $3,387 9. “Small Soldiers” $5.3 2,512 3 (DreamWorks) $40.5 $2,117 10. “Mulan” $3.5 1,705 6 (Disney) $108.1 $2,063

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SOURCE: Exhibitor Relations Co.


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