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Bang for the Buck

This week’s box office numbers

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While hardly a bomb, The Peacemaker, the first feature from the much ballyhooed DreamWorks SKG, didn’t exactly blast the competition. The George Clooney-Nicole Kidman thriller, which earned mixed reviews, stole the top spot, but its $12.3 million opening wasn’t as atomic as In & Out’s $15 million bow on 370 fewer screens the previous weekend. Costing $50 million, Peacemaker should eventually gross $50 million domestically — and turn a profit once foreign, cable, and video revenues pour in. The movie that did explode out of nowhere was the Fox drama Soul Food. Its solid $11.2 million debut reinforced what Waiting to Exhale’s $14 million opening in 1995 suggested — that there’s a hungry African-American audience that Hollywood rarely serves. Two other movies that demonstrate the power of good word of mouth: L.A. Confidential, which fell just 15 percent, and The Full Monty, which dipped only 9 percent.