Lots of standing to get a seat at these films

THERE is a new mass participation sport on display this summer: it is called queuing, and anyone who wants to see one of the big summer movies had better get used to it.

Western films in particular are performing in spectacular fashion at the box office - both blockbusters and dark horses alike. Although Jurassic Park has yet to come, it has already broken box office records in Japan, Taiwan and Korea, and can be confidently expected to pack houses when it plays on 18 Hongkong screens.

Last Action Hero has been performing powerfully, and Aladdin has really led the way; it exploded on to the scene with a four-day gross of $2,533,100 from just eight screens (six of them showing the Cantonese version), and will play for at least another month.

The real surprises, however, came from movies which were not expected to perform that well. First came Accidental Hero, which enjoyed a marathon run, then Warner Brothers' Sommers by which, by the middle of last week, had taken $10.4 million from its seven-week run.

Sommersby has temporarily departed from our screens (because the Palace wants to show Falling Down ), but will return on August 5 at the New Universal and New Imperial cinemas.

Then there is this year's Yen Family equivalent, the Mexican charmer Like Water for Chocolate. This Cine-Art House sleeper is now into its fifth week, averaging 85 per cent at the box office, and has taken more than $700,000 - impressive figures for sucha small cinema.

In recent years it has never been this hard to get hold of movie tickets, and things will not change as more big releases come along.

The beginning of August will bring Robocop III, plus smaller art-house releases Glengarry Glen Ross and The Wedding Banquet, while Dennis the Menace is expected at the end of next month.

But back to Jurassic Park, and the success of the film's premiere at the Convention Centre last week will probably further fuel the competition for tickets when the movie goes on release this Thursday.

The situation will certainly not be helped by rumours within the industry that the UA Queensway cinema has been accepting block bookings for Jurassic Park screenings from large corporations - one has apparently attempted to buy every seat for Saturday's 7.30 pm screening of the Spielberg hit.