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Man of Letters

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Apparently, Kevin Costner is more reliable as the somber sender of letters than as the postapocalyptic bringer of them. His Message in a Bottle bobbed onto tape this week at No. 3, while in June 1998 his Postman delivered only a No. 7 debut. Corresponding with our postal theme, Cruel Intentions — an adaptation of the epistolary novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses — debuted at No. 9.

TAPE RENTALS

WEEKS EW VIDEO LAST WEEK ON CHART GRADE

1 1 EIGHT MILLIMETER Nicolas Cage, Columbia TriStar 3 C- 2 2 PAYBACK Mel Gibson, Paramount 2 C 3 — MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE Robin Wright Penn, Warner 1 B- 4 4 SHE’S ALL THAT Freddie Prinze Jr., Miramax 4 C- 5 3 A CIVIL ACTION John Travolta, Touchstone 4 A 6 10 ENEMY OF THE STATE Will Smith, Touchstone 8 B 7 5 BLAST FROM THE PAST Brendan Fraser, New Line 2 B- 8 7 PATCH ADAMS Robin Williams, Universal 7 D 9 — CRUEL INTENTIONS Ryan Phillippe, Columbia TriStar 1 C+ 10 6 VARSITY BLUES James Van Der Beek, Paramount 6 C- 11 8 BABY GENIUSES Kathleen Turner, Columbia TriStar 2 F 12 9 SAVING PRIVATE RYAN Tom Hanks, DreamWorks 11 A 13 12 OCTOBER SKY Jake Gyllenhaal, Universal 2 C 14 11 VIRUS Jamie Lee Curtis, Universal 3 D+ 15 15 THE FACULTY Elijah Wood, Dimension 8 B- 16 13 THE THIN RED LINE Sean Penn, Fox 6 B+ 17 22 WING COMMANDER Freddie Prinze Jr., Fox 4 D 18 14 STEPMOM Julia Roberts, Columbia TriStar 15 — 19 19 HOLY MAN Eddie Murphy, Touchstone 12 D 20 17 YOU’VE GOT MAIL Tom Hanks, Warner 14 B SOURCE: VIDEO BUSINESS FOR THE WEEK ENDING AUG. 8, 1999