Hot ‘Chocolate’ in snowy N.Y., sunny L.A.

The blizzard took a big bite out of Saturday grosses in Gotham, but some films withstood the weather’s impact and posted promising box office results.

Best holdover was Miramax’s “Like Water for Chocolate,” which improved at two Los Angeles sites for $ 24,857 in its third weekend while earning $ 19,315 at two Gotham houses in its fourth.

Appropriately frosty-localed “Ethan Frome” brought Miramax little solace with $ 12,696 in debut weekend at two Manhattan sites plus $ 8,439 at three L.A. bijous.

Goldwyn’s “Stolen Children” had a so-so sendoff at three L.A. houses. Distrib’s “Mac” couldn’t find its feet in second exclusive weekend in L.A.

Sony Pictures Classics’ “Indochine” got a second wind during the Oscar race in its 12th weekend solo in L.A. SPC’s “Olivier, Olivier” was unimpressive in its L.A. bow but did a bit better in its third solo weekend in Manhattan.

Fine Line’s “The Last Days of Chez Nous” began with a slight $ 10,314 at two West Coast venues and pulled just $ 9,440 in its third weekend at two N.Y. sites.

Strand bowed Matthew Irmas’ “When the Party’s Over” for a minor first weekend exclusive in L.A.

MGM’s “Rich in Love” platformed shakily in its second weekend at three Manhattan screens.

Los Angeles

“Stolen Children” (Goldwyn) bowed quietly with $ 4,988 in first weekend at Landmark Goldwyn Pavilion; $ 4,550 in same at Cineplex Beverly Center.

“Ethan Frome” (Miramax) had a chilly reception with $ 4,010 in opening weekend at AMC Century 14; $ 2,154 in same at Cineplex Beverly Center; $ 2,275 at AMC Santa Monica 7.

“The Last Days of Chez Nous” (Fine Line) started so-so with $ 5,341 in first weekend at Laemmle Sunset 5; $ 4,973 in same at Laemmle Monica.

“Olivier, Olivier” (Sony Pictures Classics) began lazily with $ 5,543 in first weekend at Laemmle Music Hall.

“When the Party’s Over” (Strand) opened sluggishly with $ 2,531 in first weekend at Laemmle Monica.

“Like Water for Chocolate” (Miramax) improved 6% to $ 12,164 in third weekend at Landmark Goldwyn Pavilion; up 2% to $ 12,693 in same at Laemmle Sunset 5.

“Indochine” (Sony Pictures Classics) jumped up 22% to $ 11,115 in 12th weekend at Laemmle Royal.

“Rich in Love” (MGM) improved 3% to $ 5,870 in second weekend at Pacific Crest; down 44% to $ 5,853 in same at AMC Century 14; minus 39% to $ 3,647 in ditto at Cineplex Beverly Center; down 18% to $ 6,362 in same at AMC Santa Monica 7.

“Mac” (Goldwyn) dipped 7% to $ 4,218 in second weekend at Landmark Nuart.

“Strictly Ballroom” (Miramax) off 13% to $ 8,691 in fifth weekend at Landmark Goldwyn Pavilion; down 16% to $ 9,262 in same at Cineplex Beverly Center; improved 4% to $ 8,449 in third weekend at Cineplex Broadway.

“The Abyss Special Edition” (Fox) (reissue) plummeted 39% to $ 3,413 in third two days at Cineplex Century Plaza.

“Intervista” (Castle Hill) off 16% to $ 2,865 in third weekend at Laemmle Sunset 5.

“Close to Eden” (Miramax) increased its take 22% to $ 1,433 in second weekend at Landmark Nuwilshire.

New York

“Ethan Frome” had a lukewarm opener with $ 7,327 in first weekend at Tower East; $ 5,369 in same at 19th St. East.

“Rich in Love” fell 31% to $ 7,487 in second weekend at Beekman; off 42% to $ 4,226 at Chelsea; down 41% to $ 2,280 in second weekend at Waverly.

“Stolen Children” fell 29% to $ 12,223 in second weekend at Lincoln Plaza.

“Olivier, Olivier” slid 32% to $ 11,581 in third weekend at Lincoln Plaza.

“El Mariachi” dived 42% to $ 10,410 in third weekend at Village Sevenplex.

“Like Water for Chocolate” down 14% to $ 13,557 in fourth weekend at Angelika; steady $ 5,758 (down 9%) in same at Carnegie Hall Screening Room.

“The Last Days of Chez Nous” off 6% to $ 5,575 in third weekend at 68th St. Playhouse; down 20% to $ 3,865 in same at Village East.

“Strictly Ballroom” dipped 28% to $ 14,751 in fifth weekend at Angelika; plummeted 58% to $ 6,124 in same period at First & 62nd St.

“Mac” dropped 35% to $ 4,361 in fourth weekend at Carnegie Hall Cinema; off 31% to $ 6,650 in same period at Angelika.

“Riff-Raff” (Fine Line) off 25% to $ 3,472 in fifth weekend at Quad.

“Indochine” minus 25% to $ 8,282 in 12th weekend at Lincoln Plaza; down 26% to $ 4,772 in fourth weekend at Quad.

“Tous les Matins du Monde” (October Films) down 35% to $ 3,906 in 18th weekend at Lincoln Plaza; quiet $ 1,825 in first return weekend at Quad.

“Bad Lieutenant” (Aries) down 29% to $ 3,801 in 17th weekend at Angelika.

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