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ROBERTS RULES AGAIN

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Here again is Julia Roberts, starring in tapes aimed at both girls (My Best Friend’s Wedding) and boys (Conspiracy Theory). The latter film slid into the top rental slot despite the fact that enough of its target demographic rented Fire Down Below to make it the week’s top debut. On the sales side, two new entries are familiar kinds of video keepers: a confection for the kids (Hercules & Xena) and a classic for the video library (West Side Story). But what to make of No. 7 Sling Blade? Could its sell-through success be a sign of instant classicdom?

TAPE RENTALS

LAST WEEK WEEKS ON CHART 1 4 CONSPIRACY THEORY Mel Gibson, Warner 2 2 2 CON AIR Nicolas Cage, Touchstone 5 3 1 MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING Julia Roberts, Columbia TriStar 5 4 3 MEN IN BLACK Will Smith, Columbia TriStar 7 5 5 CONTACT Jodie Foster, Warner 4 6 7 FACE/OFF John Travolta, Paramount 9 7 — FIRE DOWN BELOW Steven Seagal, Warner 1 8 12 OUT TO SEA Jack Lemmon, FoxVideo 2 9 8 SPAWN Michael Jai White, New Line 3 10 6 GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE Brendan Fraser, Walt Disney 6

TAPE SALES

1 1 MEN IN BLACK Will Smith, Columbia TriStar, $24.99 7 2 2 MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING Julia Roberts, Columbia TriStar, $22.99 5 3 — HERCULES & XENA THE ANIMATED MOVIE: THE BATTLE FOR MOUNT OLYMPUS Animated, Universal, $19.98 1 4 3 SCREAM Neve Campbell, Dimension, $19.99 6 5 4 GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE Brendan Fraser, Walt Disney, $22.99 6 6 — WEST SIDE STORY Natalie Wood, MGM/UA, $14.95 1 7 — SLING BLADE Billy Bob Thornton, Miramax, $19.99 1 8 5 THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK Jeff Goldblum, Universal, $22.98 10 9 10 THE LAND BEFORE TIME V: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND Animated, Universal, $19.98 5 10 6 AIR BUD Buddy, Walt Disney, $19.99 4

SPORTS TAPE SALES 1 1 THE OFFICIAL 1997 WORLD SERIES VIDEO Orion, $19.98 7 2 2 TIGER WOODS: SON, HERO & CHAMPION CBS, $14.98 29 3 15 MICHAEL JORDAN: AIR TIME CBS/Fox, $19.98 237 4 3 MICHAEL JORDAN: ABOVE & BEYOND CBS/Fox, $14.98 87 5 9 FOOTBALL FOLLIES PolyGram, $9.95 11 6 12 PURE PAYTON PolyGram, $19.95 11 7 4 THIS WEEK IN BASEBALL: 20 YEARS OF UNFORGETTABLE PLAYS & BLOOPERS Orion, $14.98 59 8 18 NFL TALKIN’ FOLLIES PolyGram, $14.95 9 9 8 MICHAEL JORDAN: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION CBS/Fox, $29.98 43 10 11 MICHAEL JORDAN’S PLAYGROUND CBS/Fox, $19.98 305

SOURCE: VIDEO BUSINESS FOR THE WEEK ENDING JAN. 11, 1998 SPORTS DATA: BILLBOARD FROM THE ISSUE DATED JAN. 17, 1998

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