‘Aladdin’ still king of B.O. mountain

With an estimated $ 7.2 million for the weekend, “Aladdin” clung tenaciously to the top slot at the nation’s box office–again flexing its blockbuster muscle–followed by “A Few Good Men” ($ 6.1 million), “Alive” ($ 5.8 million) and “Scent of a Woman” ($ 4.5 million).

Little heat was generated by the weekend’s frostbitten debutantes, BV’s ski-bum saga “Aspen Extreme” and chilly Columbia comedy “Hexed.” Former drifted toward $ 3.3 million on 1,455 screens — good for seventh place — while the latter was truly jinxed with $ 1.4 million in 960 spots.

“Hexed” trailed the 244 theater break of New Line’s “Damage” which captured $ 1.6 million–about $ 6,500 a theater– and the slowly growing 192-screen run of Miramax’s “The Crying Game,” which is expected to add another $ 1.5 million over the weekend, surpassing $ 10 million. It’s still the hottest urban ticket around–almost $ 8,000 a theater.

Fox/Largo’s “Used People” expanded nicely to 876 theaters, peopling seats to the tune of $ 4.2 million, about $ 4,800 a screen, sliding into fifth gear. If it holds, the modestly budgeted (less than $ 20 million) slice-of-lifer has a good chance at recoup, if it holds.

Of note, says Fox distrib chief, Tom Sherak, is the fact that the urban ethnic piece did a lot better in smaller markets than expected–particularly in Southern playdates. Competition from heavy adult fare in large urban markets was more daunting and total, while good, reflects the popularity in less populated (and therefore lower per-screen total) areas.

The hard-to-sell “Lorenzo’s Oil” upped the ante again to 412 screens for an OK $ 1.6 million, only $ 4,000 or so a screen. Total to date is $ 2.8 million. Weekend as a whole was healthy, showing around $ 43 million or so for the top 10 films, about 8% ahead of last year.

But the big news is, and continues to be, “Aladdin,” which is on its way to being Hollywood’s biggest grosser in the past two years. With almost $ 148 million to date, it has now officially passed “Beauty and the Beast.” And for a film heavily reliant on kids’ admissions to maintain a $ 3,000-plus per screen average (in 2,289 sites) this far into its run, means it won’t be long before it becomes BV’s best-ever performer.

“A Few Good Men” settled for a comfy second place with another $ 6.1 million on 2,100 screens, almost $ 3,000 a theater, bringing it to around $ 109 million so far. Columbia/Castle Rock film is marking time until Oscar nominations. If it gets heavy recognition, it should give it the steam needed to round the $ 150 million bend.

Surprise Golden Globe win for best dramatic feature, plus actor trophy to Al Pacino and script citation to Bo Goldman, also improves “Scent of a Woman’s” appeal. And it’s equally popular with audiences in its third weekend nationally, attracting a projected $ 4.5 million on 1,244 screens and $ 22.5 million so far–good for fourth place.

“Woman” is nestled right behind BV’s “Alive.” Based on second-weekend results , the studio seems to have its first 1993 hit with the true-life heroism and cannibalism saga. The $ 5.8 million munched on 1,235 screens is better than $ 4, 500 a screen. ‘Alive’ has earned $ 16.1 million in its first 10 days.

Columbia’s “Nowhere to Run” is not exactly on the road to nowhere, but second-weekend drop, to $ 4.1 million on 1,776 screens, shows it’s not likely to get anywhere fast. With just $ 13.5 million to date, Van Damme’s stab at macho sensitivity is not likely to be a major career fork in the road.

But if you really want soft, try Madonna’s “Body of Evidence,” which plummeted to $ 2.8 million on a wide spread of 2,050 runs– wet-noodling less than $ 1,400 a screen in its second stab. With a flaccid $ 11.5 million to date and arthritic legs, the MGM film should limp onto video shelves soon.

The romantically inclined continued to back Warners’ “The Bodyguard,” which on 1,540 screens embraced $ 3 million for $ 106.1 million to date. WB’s “Forever Young” is getting a bit long in the tooth, sagging to $ 2.2 million on 1,461 screens. But with $ 48.3 million to date, the Mel Gibson cryogenic romance will end up with $ 50-something million.

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