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‘Addams’ II gets a hand

It was neat and petite but a tad shy of a smasheroo as Paramount’s “Addams Family Values” got the jump on Thanksgiving with an estimated $ 14.5 million debut to lead the weekend box office. That left the other wide-release freshman — New Line’s “Man’s Best Friend”– baying at the moon in fifth place with a reported $ 4 million.

“Addams Family,” Part Deux, was not the dynamo that many anticipated would kick-start the holiday season. The first outing, which debuted two years ago, came in like a lion with $ 24.2 million. The sequel was considerably tamer, leaving a lot of head scratching in its wake. It did have a healthy, near-50% Friday-to-Saturday boost in business but lacked the warm bodies to generate a bigger gross. The film debuted with 2,577 prints for strong averages of $ 5,630. Now Par will have to await the Thanksgiving figures.

Disney’s “The Three Musketeers” held well in its second frame, dropping a modest 24% to finish second with about $ 8.1 million. The company changed its print ads and began to attract more of a family audience. Again, Saturday revenues were up from Friday by close to 50%. The swashbuckler averaged $ 3,860 from 2,098 escapades to bring its 10-day cume to $ 21.6 million.

Universal’s “Carlito’s Way” ranked third with $ 6 million and an overall decline of 34%. Brian De Palma’s crime saga continued to play like gangbusters in urban haunts while trailing off sharply in smaller centers. It had averages of $ 3,670 from 1,634 dens of iniquity. Its cume is $ 18 million.

Columbia added 490 playdates to the heartfelt “My Life” to place fourth with $ 5.4 million. That translates to a 3% drop for the tale of life and death, for averages of $ 4,190 from 1,290 situations. After 10 days it has generated revenues of $ 12.5 million.

New Line launched the canine thriller “Man’s Best Friend,” which sank its teeth into fifth with an estimated $ 5 million. The timing proved to be an effective piece of counter-programming, racking up impressive genre averages of $ 3,280 from 1,220 cages. Whether ittruly can put the bite on the box office or winds up being carved up will be all tooevident next weekend.

MGM debuted Abel Ferrara’s “Dangerous Game,” which churned up $ 19,000 at a single Gotham site. The intense drama, starring Harvey Keitel and Madonna, appears to have solid arthouse potential.

Warner Bros.’ “The Saint of Fort Washington,” starring Matt Dillon and Danny Glover, had downbeat debut returns of $ 18,000 from three engagements. The contemporary tale of New York’s homeless may find little commercial shelter.

While overall business saw a slight boost of 2% from the previous frame, overall box office vitality is definitely flagging. Business was significantly down some 24% from the comparable weekend of 1992 when Fox’s “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” exploded with $ 31.1 million. Year-to-date revenue is $ 4.43 billion, which still bodes well for a new annual record once Thanksgiving numbers are tallied.

Touchstone’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” was stirring in sixth with $ 3. 1 million. The stop-motion spooky tale slipped 43% to see averages fall to $ 1, 940. Its 1,601 playdates have scared up $ 38.7 million to date.

Columbia boosted its high-class act “The Remains of the Day” by 300-plus playdates for a seventh-place, $ 2.8 million finish. The sterling drama jumped to attention by 58% for averages of $ 5,420 from 517 larders. It’s put the sheen on $ 7.5 million thus far.

Disney’s “Cool Runnings” continued to generate steam in eighth with $ 2.5 million. The seasonal sleeper slid 26% for the frame, to average $ 1,640 out of 1,525 chutes. It’s burned up the track to the tune of $ 51.5 million.

Fox continued to mine gold in ninth with “The Beverly Hillbillies” cashing a weekend check of $ 2.1 million. The rustic nabobs were slightly off course by 21 % to fiddle away averages of $ 1,280 from 1,639 vaults. That brings the pic’s cume to $ 37 million.

“Hillbillies’ ” vitality was considerably abetted by Fox’s sneaks on “Mrs. Doubtfire.” The Robin Williams cross-dressing comedy resulted in B.O. boosts of more than 120% for the country slickers and about 90% lifts to “Nightmare Before Christmas,” which also tandemed the title. There were a near-record 1,000 previews with early stats indicating a 70% excellent response. “Doubtfire” has been touted the seasonal smash in the press.

Tenth but hardly least was Miramax’s first major expansion of its Cannes-prized “The Piano,” reporting $ 1.5 million. The sumptuous period drama spread to 99 screens and scored vibrant averages of $ 15,150.

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