Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Hollywood Has Third Best Year in '92

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Hollywood Has Third Best Year in '92

Article excerpt

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Hollywood appeared to have its third best year ever in 1992, with movies earning close to $5 billion, according to figures released Monday.

It was an improvement over 1991, but grosses were boosted by the most expensive tickets ever _ about $5 each on average _ while total admissions appeared to be down, at less than 1 billion in North America. Admissions have been flat for a decade.

The year's top five films, based on domestic theater grosses, were "Batman Returns," "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York," "Lethal Weapon 3," "Sister Act" and "Wayne's World."

The year's most profitable films weren't the high-priced blockbusters but modestly financed releases that did exceptionally well at ticket counters. "Sister Act," "The Hand the Rocks the Cradle" and "Wayne's World" headed the list.

Several independent films _ especially "Enchanted April," "The Player" and "Howards End" _ were hugely profitable because they were made on the cheap.

Final 1992 sales figures are released in late January. Overall sales were expected to trail the $5.03 billion take in 1989 and $5.02 billion in 1990 but exceed the $4.8 billion in sales in 1991.

Overall fortunes were tempered by holiday underachievers "Toys," "Leap of Faith," "Hoffa," "Chaplin" and "Distinguished Gentleman."

The failure of these and other heavily promoted big-ticket films demonstrated that audiences need compelling reasons to part with money to see a movie in a theater rather than waiting for its home video debut.

"When the economy is tight, you're going to be more careful about how you spend your money," said Martin Shafer, co-owner of Castle Rock Entertainment, producer of "A Few Good Men."

"People are still going to the movies, but the more marginal movies are not doing as well as they were 10 years ago."

"A Few Good Men" is one of the few year-end smashes, finishing second for the weekend with sales of $14 million and $77.2 million total to date. …

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