‘Men’ back atop quiet nat’l B.O.

The first post-holiday box office weekend was slightly off last year’s pace, with the top five films shouldering most of the burden.

Most promising new entry was Universal’s “Scent of a Woman,” which registered a strong third-place $ 6.4 million in its national break on 1,083 screens.

But TriStar’s “Chaplin” did no better than seventh in its first cross-country foray on 1,066 screens, grossing a poor-little-tramp $ 3.3 million.

Trimark’s horror-ific “Leprechaun,” had a cloudy top o’ the mornin’, scaring up only about $ 2.3 million in its 620-screen debut.

Top 10 films should tally close to $ 48 million, about 6% behind last year’s $ 51.6 million weekend, which was led by the smash debut of Disney’s “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle.”

“A Few Good Men” climbed back into the top slot with an estimated $ 9.2 million. The Castle Rock/Columbia production held mightily with only a 34% drop from the powerhouse New Year’s weekend, while some films dipped by as much as half. Film is now over the $ 90 million hump and studio insiders predict it will hit $ 100 million by next Sunday.

With the kiddie audience back in school, “Aladdin” slipped about 50% to a still-magical $ 7.5 million to $ 8 million for the weekend, levitating it to around $ 125 million to date.

Warner Bros.’ resilient “The Bodyguard” clung stubbornly to fourth place with $ 5.1 million to $ 5.5 million, elevating it to $ 96 million or so. Warners’ worldwide success also should hoist itself over $ 100 million by the coming weekend.

WB’s other romantically inclined flick, “Forever Young,” held with a 40% or so drop, managing $ 4.4 million to $ 4.9 million for the weekend and better than $ 40 million to date.

‘Home’ tops $ 150 mil

“Home Alone 2: Lost in New York,” however, is starting to show signs of fatigue, with an approximately 50% decline to between $ 3.7 million and $ 4.2 million. That was still good enough to make it the first holiday release to top $ 150 million.

“Hoffa” and “Leap of Faith” continue to ease away from theatrical release and toward homevideo, declining to about $ 2.4 million and $ 2 million, respectively. Neither film has tallied more than $ 20 million so far.

“The Distinguished Gentleman” also faded more than 50% from the previous weekend to about $ 2.1 million, and $ 41 million to date.

According to Miramax, “The Crying Game” held about even with New Year’s weekend, doing a disputable $ 1.2 million on 123 screens and more than $ 6 million thus far. More likely figure is closer to $ 1 million.

Fresh blood arrives over the coming Martin Luther King holiday, including more Madonna erotica via the MGM thriller “Body of Evidence,”Columbia’s Jean-Claude Van Damme actioner “Nowhere to Run” and BV’s true-life adventure “Alive.”

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