Smoking ‘Gun’ hits $ 13.5 mil

Laughter was the best medicine for the weekend box office, where Paramount’s “Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult” debut was the clear winner with $ 13.5 million. New Line Cinema’s launch of “Monkey Trouble” proved to be a real party animal with $ 4.6 million, good for third place. Miramax/Dimension’s limited release, “Mother’s Boys,” was no favorite with $ 300,000 in three days.

The further adventures of the “Police Squad” arrived with both barrels blasting. With a screen average of $ 5,670 from 2,383 precincts, it’s comparable to the opening of the first “Naked Gun,” but represents about 65% of the second edition. Par provided a bang-up opening, with Saturday’s gross up about 35% from first-day business.

Many watch ‘Tess’

TriStar’s “Guarding Tess” was looking spry in second position with an $ 5.1 million weekend. The upscale comedy dipped 28% in its 1,613 outposts for a $ 3, 160 average. That puts the MacLaine/Cage combo’s 10-day cume at $ 14.4 million.

New Line’s frosh “Monkey Trouble” set out on the right paw with a $ 4.6 million preem. It was obvious the pic had kid appeal, with box office ballooning 130% Saturday. That should account for a $ 3,260 average from predominantly half-price ducats at 1,412 cages.

Initial weekend numbers saw new releases providing a 7% surge from last weekend while trailing 1993’s comparable frame by some 5%. More significantly, on Sunday — the 79th day of the year — the domestic box office total passed $ 1 billion. It’s a new speed record, besting the previous pace of 83 days, set in 1992.

With Oscar a heartbeat away, Universal boosted “Schindler’s List” an additional 442 playdates (1,245 in total) to finish fourth for the weekend with $ 4 million. Although it maintained a relatively steadfast average of $ 3,210, “List’s” gross got a 41% boost. The film to beat tonight has advanced to a $ 59. 5 million cume.

Oscar luster also gave a shine to other contenders, with Universal’s “In the Name of the Father” off a mere 1% in 14th with $ 1.2 million. Best actor favorite Tom Hanks’ “Philadelphia” was a notch behind with $ 1.1 million and 1% ahead of last weekend’s pace, while both “The Piano” and “The Remains of the Day” had significant bumps in more limited release.

Fifth for ‘Jack’

Savoy’s Paul Hogan Western “Lightning Jack” saw its pace slow 40% to $ 3.2 million and fifth berth. The yarn is a more lively entry in the heartland. Its 1 ,733 stables produced a $ 1,790 weekend average for a 10-day cume of $ 10.1 million.

Still a card to be counted, Warner Bros.’ “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” was sixth with $ 3 million. The instant comic icon had a 27% decline to average $ 1, 720 per kennel, for a cume of $ 62.3 million.

Touchstone’s “The Ref” got called offsides by 25% to finish the frame seventh with $ 2.3 million. The irreverent comedy was hip to a $ 2,890 average from 797 terms. Its cume is $ 6.3 million.

Sitting in eighth with $ 1.7 million was Fox’s pristine “Mrs. Doubtfire.” The ultimate nanny was a wee 27% down in his/her 17th weekend with a $ 1,380 average. Its 1,235 playpens propelled the cume to $ 206.1 million and up a notch to 15th all-time domestic grosser.

Extra addition boosts ‘Greedy’

Universal’s “Greedy” had an avid $ 1.6 million to place ninth, bolstered considerably by Saturday sneaks of “The Paper.” Off overall by 39%, “Greedy’s” 1 ,603 vaults saw modest premiums accounting for a $ 1,000 average. It has rung up $ 11.2 million to date.

Universal had “The Paper” in five regular dates, where it was hot off the presses with $ 165,000 and a $ 33,000 average. Meanwhile, sneaks attracted about 85% capacity with exit polls indicating a 70% definite recommend response. “We tried a slightly different approach with the platform/sneak combo,” noted studio veep Nikki Rocco. “So far, the response has been great and we’re very optimistic because audiences really like the picture.”

Also stepping out into the marketplace was Fine Line’s erotic thriller “Bitter Moon.” Adding six dates, to five already playing in Canada, produced a $ 60,000 weekend for a $ 5,450 average. Goldwyn’s single-screen Gotham bow of fest fave “Suture” provided an encouraging $ 12,000 preem.

‘Boys’ disappoint

Miramax/Dimension found the waters tepid for “Mother’s Boys” in a 140 -playdate launch. The thriller underwhelmed with a $ 2,140 average.

The company had more auspicious returns from its expansion of the erotic “Sirens,” which sang up about $ 550,000 in 100 playdates.

Gramercy was also spreading out with its comedy of manners “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” chalking up $ 325,000 on 18.

Rounding out the top 10 was New Line’s “8 Seconds” with a $ 1.6 million weekend. The rodeo “Rocky” is still packin’ regional punch, while the national ebb is 26%. It bucked out of 838 pens with a $ 1,910 average for a cume of $ 12. 1 million.

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