But "Reds" isn't the only commercial disappointment on hand, just the most expensive one. Crowds apparently don't know what to make of "Pennies From Heaven," so they've stayed away from the start, while "Ragtime" started out respectably but faded fast, and the star chemistry of Jane Fonda and Kris Kristofferson in "Rollover" or Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in "Buddy Buddy" didn't help those films one bit. The list of casualties goes on: Burt Reynolds in the quickly dying "Sharky's Machine"; the robot comedy "Heartbeeps," which hides Andy Kaufman's and Bernadette Peters' faces behind plastic masks; Arthur Penn's "Four Friends," which has resorted to television ads showing a preppy young man -- not unlike the film's main character -- walking around and musing to himself, "What a movie . . . 'Four Friends' . . . Must be some kind of a classic"; Richard Dreyfuss' talky "Whose Life Is It, Anyway?"
Still, "On Golden Pond" is jerking a good number of tears, and "Absence of Malice" is also holding its own. "Taps" and "Ghost Story" opened to decent business, while the John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd team has turned "Neighbors" into the biggest of last week's openings. And then there's "Cinderella," a reissue that delighted Disney executives are watching outdistance nearly all its more contemporary competitors.