New blood and the Presidents Day holiday boosted national B.O. tremendously this past week. Orion’s critically praised “The Silence Of The Lambs” narrowly bested Fox’ “Sleeping With The Enemy” in the thriller sweepstakes.

Debuter “Lambs” did over $17.6 million and sophomore “Enemy” topped the $15.4 million, while John Goodman’s first topbilled role, in U’s comedy “King Ralph,” scored a strong $9.7 million debut.

Fox’ “Home Alone” got a third or fourth wind, increasing its take 15% (at 170 fewer theaters) to become the highest-grossing comedy ever at $231.5 million, passing up “Beverly Hills Cop.”

The top 10 films earned $81,648,170, up a super 30% over previous week’s leaders’ $62,641,520.

Dan Aykroyd’s directorial debut, WB’s “Nothing But Trouble,” proved a prophetic title; it missed the $5 million level in its opener.

Oscar nominations translated into dollars for “Dances With Wolves,” increasing its take by $2 million over the previous frame, a massive 36% rise.

New Line’s “Cadence” successfully reentered the marketplace, passing the $1 million mark in cume.

The Oscar nom for “Cyrano de Bergerac” boosted its average to $8,015; pic has earned nearly $2.7 million to date.

Prestige’s made-in-China “Iron & Silk” had a strong Gotham opening of $18,312 at one screen.

IFEX’ Czech import “Larks On A String” wrapped its first frame with $7,775 in an exclusive Manhattan booking. Castle Hill’s “Alligator Eyes,” first released last November in L.A., scored an impressive $10,118 debut in Manhattan, also exclusive.

Four Seasons’ Canadian import “Perfectly Normal” died in Gotham, with a measly $6,946 launch at four bijous.

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