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MAY 6, 1997

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At The Movies, Kurt Russell (left) drives the thriller Breakdown to a $12.3 million opening, outpacing Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, which racks up a mere $9.5 million. On TV, nearly 35 million viewers make NBC’s ER the week’s No. 1 show. In Music, the Notorious B.I.G.’s posthumous release Life After Death is Billboard’s top album. And In The News, an ex-Heaven’s Gate cult member is found dead in Encinitas, Calif., in an apparent copycat suicide — right down to the black sneakers and purple shroud — just over a month after 39 cultists ended their lives.