May 07, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

After receiving middling reviews and grossing only $490,000 in theaters last fall, Vincenzo Natali’s Cube seemed headed for the indie-film dustbin, but since it came out on tape in January the existential sci-fi flick has become a hit. In April it was still moving more briskly — 2.4 rentals per copy each week — than any other movie released at the start of the year. That was news to Natali, who will make a thriller titled Breakdown in Evandale next for Matrix production company Village Roadshow Pictures. He chalks up Cube‘s growing cult to fans ”who like to visit worlds that don’t really exist.” Meanwhile, distributor Trimark Home Video thinks the film isn’t a cult phenom at all. ”Cults build over time,” says Trimark VP Ron Schwartz. ”But this hit immediately.”

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