Most days, Fred Flintstone digs up rocks at the Slate & Co. quarry.
But over the Memorial Day weekend, he struck gold.
Confounding pundits who pegged it as more of a mega-flop thaa mega-hit, the live-action big-screen version of "The Flintstones" set off a sensational $37.2 million box-office avalanche over the four-day holiday weekend, according to industry estimates. That tops the previous Memorial Day weekend champ, "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," which made $37.03 million in 1989.
"The Flintstones' " earth-shaking debut could not have come at better time for Hollywood. After a disappointing spring, the movie business had high hopes for last week's big opener, Mel Gibson's cutesy comedy "Maverick," which grossed a solid but less-than-sensational $17 million. "Maverick," which like "The Flintstones" is a descendant of TV's Golden Age, held well in its second weekend with $18 million, while Eddie Murphy's "Beverly Hills Cop III" opened to a brisk but disappointing $15.5 million, about half of "Cop II's" debut gold mine in 1987.
The weekend's top three films accounted for more than $70 million, and the Hollywood Reporter predicted Monday that this year's weekend total would beat the all-time Memorial Day weekend take of $101 million in 1992.
Equally encouraging was Universal Pictures' report that exit polls were rewarding "The Flintstones" with a 95 percent "excellent to very good" rating, according to the Hollywood Reporter.