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COLUMBIAN GOLD

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Columbia was the gem of the studios this weekend: Both of its debuting films made box office waves. Knocking The Fugitive out of the No. 1 slot after seven weeks, the Bruce Willis cops-in-motorboats action movie, Striking Distance, estimated to cost $40 million, pulled in $8.7 million. But its mixed reviews suggest that the film is likely to make most of its money overseas. Meanwhile, Martin Scorsese’s action-free Age of Innocence had a killer opening, making $2.3 million in only 83 theaters in 33 cities. The movie is unspooling in week-long limited engagements before expanding to 750 screens by Oct. 1. Why? Marketing. ”We wanted to make it an event, special, a tough ticket as it opens,” says distribution president Jeff Blake. Weekend Gross Weeks in Gross Top 20 to Date Release

1 $8.7 Striking Distance $8.7 1 Columbia, Bruce Willis 2 $7.1 The Fugitive $154.3 7 Warner Bros., Harrison Ford 3 $2.9 Undercover Blues MGM, Kathleen Turner $8.5 2 4 $2.6 True Romance $8.2 2 Warner Bros., Christian Slater 5 $2.3 The Man Without a Face $19.5 4 Warner Bros., Mel Gibson 6 $2.3 The Age of Innocence $2.3 1 7 $2.1 Jurassic park $322.1 15 8 $1.4 Sleepless in Seattle $116.9 13 9 $1.4 Into the West Miramax, Gabriel Byrne $1.4 1 10 $1.4 The Real McCoy Universal, Kim Basinger $5.0 2 11 $1.3 Hard Target $29.4 5 12 $1.3 Airborne Warner Bros., Shane McDermott $1.3 1 13 $1.2 The Secret Garden $27.0 6 Warner Bros., Kate Maberly 14 $1.1 Free Willy $70.2 10 Warner Bros., Jason James Richter 15 $1.0 The Firm Paramount, Tom Cruise $153.0 12 16 $1.0 In the Line of Fire $101.3 11 Columbia, Clint Eastwood 17 $0.9 Rising Sun $59.8 8 20th Century Fox, Sean Connery 18 $0.8 Manhattan Murder Mystery $9.4 5 TriStar, Woody Allen 19 $0.7 Needful Things $13.9 4 20 $0.7 Rookie of the Year $51.5 11 20th Century Fox, Gary Busey

Weekend Per-Screen No. of Average Top 10/ Per Screen Screens 1 $27,919 The Age of Innocence Columbia 83 2 $4,609 Striking Distance Columbia 1,889 3 $3,063 The Fugitive Warner Bros. 2,332 4 $2,564 Into the West Miramax 550 5 $2,206 Manhattan Murder Mystery TriStar 350 6 $2,097 True Romance Warner Bros. 1,254 7 $1,826 Undercover Blues MGM 1,596 8 $1,742 The Man Without a Face Warner Bros. 1,332 9 $1,690 Jurassic Park Universal 1,225 10 $1,355 The Firm Paramount 746 Weekend of Sept. 17-19 (dollar figures in millions) Drawn from 20 top-grossing films