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Jumanji' to top U.S. box office

HOLLYWOOD, Dec. 15 -- The opening of fantasy-adventure 'Jumanji' should lead a robust national box office with about $15 million at 2,000 theaters over the Friday-Sunday period. The TriStar release, starring Robin Williams, has received strong responses from screening audiences and critics.

Described as too frightening for young children because of scenes of wild animals running amok, it should draw particularly well from teenagers. The fourth weekend of Disney's 'Toy Story' and the debuts of Paramount's 'Sabrina' and Warner Bros.' crime drama 'Heat' should wind up with about $10 million each. 'Toy Story' has topped the box office for three weekends running. It has taken in about $90 million and should finish just short of the studio's top performer this year, 'Pocahontas,' in the $130 million to $140 million range. 'Sabrina,' starring Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond and Greg Kinnear, is a remake of the 1954 film that featured Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn and William Holden. It will appeal to female moviegoers, who gave strong support last weekend to Disney's opening of 'Father of the Bride Part II.' 'Heat,' starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, will be a major attraction for men. Written and directed by Michael Mann of 'Miami Vice' fame, it has received some of the strongest reviews for a major release since 'Casino.' 'Father of the Bride, Part II' is likely to come in fifth with about $8 million at 1,900 theaters. The upcoming weekend also offers three limited-release films that should be serious contenders for Academy Awards, each based on classic stories. Columbia is releasing 'Othello' and 'Sense and Sensibility' and Miramax will debut 'Cry, the Beloved Country.' 'Sense and Sensibility,' for which Emma Thompson is being praised as star and screenwriter, opened Wednesday with an impressive $105,000 at 66 theaters.

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