By People Staff
April 23, 1999 12:00 AM

Kevin Costner’s romantic drama “Message in a Bottle” edged out Mel Gibson’s bloody revenge film “Payback” at the weekend box office, while new family fare also did well, according to industry estimates. “Bottle” opened with $19.1 million in ticket sales from Friday through Monday, knocking Mel’s action piece into second place in its second week with $18.4 million. “My Favorite Martian,” based on the 1960s TV sitcom, debuted in third place with $11.1 million, while “Blast from the Past,” with Brendan Fraser and Alicia Silverstone, opened at No. 5 with $9.7 million. Overall, it was a slower Presidents’ Day holiday for movies than last year, when “Titanic” was sinking box office records. This year’s top 12 films took in $97.7 million, down 14.8% from the previous holiday.