News In Brief

COUNTING DOWN If you live along Florida's "space coast" or have friends who do, you'll soon need to learn a new area code. It seems the three-county region now has so many standard and cell phones, beepers, and computer hookups that the old 407 isn't adequate anymore. There were many possibilities for a replacement. But the folks doing the choosing settled on one that should be a natural, considering what happens on the launching pads at Cape Canaveral: 3-2-1.

NO MORE BEASTLY BOYS From Hanover, N.H., home of Dartmouth College, comes news of no small irony. President James Wright and the trustees of the Ivy League school have ruled that its fraternities must admit female students beginning next year to encourage "respectful relations between women and men." The irony? Dartmouth's fraternities inspired the hit 1978 movie, "Animal House."

'Message in a Bottle' movie floats to top over weekend Kevin Costner's Valentine to America, "Message in a Bottle," edged out the revenge film "Payback" at the holiday weekend box office. "Message" stars Costner as a boat builder whose bottled notes to his late wife win the heart of a new love. "Shakespeare in Love," moving into wider release and benefiting from 13 Academy Award nominations came in sixth. The reissued "Saving Private Ryan," with 11 Oscar nominations, took seventh place for the four-day period. Another limited release, the quirky comedy "Rushmore," added several hundred theaters and was No. 8 in its second week. Reported grosses at North American theaters Feb. 12-15 (in millions):

1. "Message in a Bottle" $18.9

2. "Payback" 17.7

3. "My Favorite Martian" 11.2

4. "She's All That" 10.0

5. "Blast from the Past" 9.2

6. "Shakespeare in Love" 9.1

7. "Saving Private Ryan" 4.0

8. "Rushmore" 3.7

9. "Patch Adams" 3.6

10. "Varsity Blues" 3.1

- Exhibitor Relations Inc./AP

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