'Titanic' sails past E.T. Record!

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From CNN:

LOS ANGELES (BPI) - ``Titanic'' is the highest-grossing first-run film ever to hit the U.S. market.

With a post-Oscar nominations valentine of an estimated $33 million dollars over the four-day Presidents Day weekend, the James Cameron film out-distanced ``E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial'' as the No. 1 first-run domestic grosser in history. On Saturday, the 58th day of its voyage, ``Titanic'' left ``E.T'' in its wake. To date, ``Titanic'' has grossed an estimated $376.4 million domestically for Paramount, compared with ``E.T's'' first run total of $359.2 million.

Saturday was particularly noteworthy for ``Titanic.'' In addition to passing ``E.T.,'' the film charted the highest one-day gross of its phenomenal run, taking in an estimated $13 million. ``Titanic's'' best sailing day previously was Jan. 10, when it collected $12.8 million.

Admittedly, the stars were right for ``Titanic's'' phenomenal surge this weekend. With a record-tying 14 Oscar nominations on its deck, a four-day holiday weekend, and a Saturday Valentine's Day, the box office behemoth took in nearly $10 million more than the previous weekend, a three-day period.

``Titanic's'' weekend was realized in 3,002 theaters (up four from the previous weekend). To say that ``Titanic'' is picking up steam is an understatement, with the $400 million mark on the vessel's horizon.

Oscar and Cupid also presented numerous other films with big weekends, including New Line's new comedy ``The Wedding Singer,'' which grossed an estimated $22.2 million over the four-day weekend.

Another newcomer, Warner Bros.' ``Sphere,'' won the third spot. The Barry Levinson film debuted with an estimated $16.6 million.

Multiple Oscar nominees ``Good Will Hunting'' and ``As Good as It Gets'' got big Oscar boosts. Miramax's ``Good Will Hunting,'' with its nine Oscar nominations, finished fourth. The Gus Van Sant-directed film grossed an estimated $9.3 million over the four-day weekend.

Sony's ``As Good as It Gets'' surged with its seven Oscar nominations, passing the $100 million mark on Sunday, its 55th day of release. The romantic comedy grossed an estimated $7.3 million over the four days..

PolyGram Films' ``The Borrowers'' opened solid, finishing sixth. The family film grossed an estimated $6.1 million for the four days.

Sony's ``The Replacement Killers'' finished seventh with a $5.0 million estimate..

Eighth with a $3.8 million four-day estimate was 20th Century Fox's ``Great Expectations.''

In its telling second weekend, Universal's ``Blues Brothers 2000'' was off roughly 53 percent. In 11 days the film has grossed roughly $10.7 million.

Warner Bros.' ``L.A. Confidential'' vaulted back into the top 10 based on its nine Oscar nominations. The Curtis Hanson-directed film grossed an estimated $3.3 million.

-- Chris Kilroy (Chrisk757@aol.com), February 17, 1998

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