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Foreign pix top in Gotham, L.A.

Foreign films outpaced their domestic brethren as new pictures played in limited runs on both coasts.

MGM/UA’s homegrown “Rich in Love,” postponed from a planned opening last fall , debuted with a quiet $ 29,902 first weekend at four L.A. screens plus $ 21,459 at three Manhattan sites.

Goldwyn’s Italian import “The Stolen Children” didn’t receive an Oscar nomination but managed a solid $ 17,254 first weekend solo in New York.

Sony Pictures Classics’ Gallic film “Olivier, Olivier” had a fine second weekend with $ 17,127 at one Manhattan bijou.

From Mexico, “Like Water for Chocolate” continued Miramax’s hot hand with good legs: $ 23,904 in second weekend at two Los Angeles houses and $ 22,079 in third weekend at two New York salles.

Hemdale Communications’ Chicago product “Love Your Mama” didn’t impress, garnering only $ 1,146 in first weekend at two L.A. houses and $ 1,263 solo on Times Square in Gotham.

John Turturro’s debut film as director, “Mac,” earned Goldwyn a minor $ 4,545 in first L.A. solo run while taking $ 17,405 in its third weekend back home in New York on two screens.

Columbia’s made-in-Mexico “El Mariachi” demonstrated upbeat word-of-mouth in Gotham in improving 8% to $ 17,827 in second weekend solo in the Village.

Fox’s reissue of “The Abyss Special Edition” in lengthy form did a nice $ 8, 534 in second L.A. exclusive berth but disappeared from sight in New York after just one week’s exposure.

Harrod Blank’s docu “Wild Wheels” had a quiet opening for Tara Releasing in L.A. with $ 1,078 at one site. After a boffo first round at Nuart, the cinematography docu “Visions of Light” faltered with $ 2,941 in first weekend at Laemmle Monica. After a meek start, Fine Line’s Aussie import “The Last Days of Chez Nous” had decent staying power with $ 10,789 in second weekend at two Manhattan auditoriums.

Miramax’s Aussie film “Strictly Ballroom” continued to kick up its heels with a big $ 35,047 fourth weekend at two Gotham music halls plus $ 29,110 at three L.A. sites.

On a regional break in four Texas towns, RS Entertainment’s “The Judas Project” amassed $ 94,049 in its second weekend at 51 screens.

Los Angeles

“Rich in Love” (MGM) bowed with OK $ 10,530 weekend at AMC Century 14; $ 5, 676 in same at Pacific Crest; $ 5,974 in same at Cineplex Beverly Center; $ 7, 722 in same at AMC Santa Monica 7.

“Mac” (Goldwyn) earned $ 4,545 in opening weekend at Landmark Nuart.

“Love Your Mama” (Hemdale) started anemically with just $ 396 in opening weekend at UA Coronet; only $ 750 in same at General Cinema Galaxy 6.

“Like Water for Chocolate” (Miramax) dipped 19% to $ 11,432 in second weekend at Landmark Goldwyn Pavilion; off 15% to $ 12,472 in same at Laemmle Sunset 5.

“Visions of Light” (Kino) moved over for light $ 2,941 first weekend at Laemmle Monica.

“Wild Wheels” (Tara) blanked out $ 1,078 in opening weekend at Laemmle Monica.

“The Abyss Special Edition” (Fox) (reissue) dived 44% to $ 8,534 in second weekend at Cineplex Century Plaza.

Strictly Ballroom” (Miramax) off 26% to $ 9,966 in fourth weekend at Landmark Goldwyn Pavilion; down 28% to $ 11,047 in same at Cineplex Beverly Center; minus 11% to $ 8,097 in second weekend at Cineplex Broadway.

“Indochine” (Sony Pictures Classics) dropped 35% to $ 9,138 in 11th weekend at Laemmle Royal.

“Passion Fish” (Miramax) minus 27% to $ 2,274 in sixth weekend at Cineplex Century Plaza; down 47% to $ 2,508 in 12th weekend at Laemmle Sunset 5; off 8% to $ 3,698 in ninth weekend at Landmark NuWilshire.

“Close to Eden” (Miramax) shopped for an Oscar with slow $ 1,175 in first weekend at Landmark NuWilshire.

“Intervista” (Castle Hill) slipped 46% to $ 3,062 in second weekend at Laemmle Sunset 5 after $ 8,280 bow.

“Claire of the Moon” (Demi-Monde Prods./Strand Releasing) steady with $ 2,482 (minus 10%) in sixth weekend at Laemmle Sunset 5.

“Bad Lieutenant” (Aries) minus 43% to $ 1,477 in seventh weekend at Laemmle Sunset 5.

New York

“Rich in Love” started with a nice $ 10,783 weekend at Beekman; $ 7,324 at Chelsea; $ 3,352 at Waverly.

“The Stolen Children” (Samuel Goldwyn) opened with powerhouse $ 17,254 weekend at Lincoln Plaza.

“Olivier, Olivier” (Sony Pictures Classics) dipped 15% to $ 17,127 in second weekend at Lincoln Plaza.

“El Mariachi” (Columbia) catching on with 8% improvement to $ 17,827 in second weekend at Village Sevenplex.

“Love Your Mama” began with desultory $ 1,263 weekend at Criterion.

“Like Water for Chocolate” did powerful $ 15,731 (minus 4%) in third weekend at Angelika; rock-solid $ 6,348 (down 2%) in same at Carnegie Hall Screening Room.

“The Last Days of Chez Nous” (Fine Line) minus 9% to $ 5,945 in second weekend at 68th St. Playhouse; off 12% to $ 4,844 in same at Village East.

“Strictly Ballroom” steady $ 20,488 (down 1%) in fourth weekend at Angelika; minus 15% to $ 14,559 in same period at First & 62nd St.

“Mac” slid 22% to $ 7,705 in third weekend at Carnegie Hall Cinema; down 15% to $ 9,700 in same period at Angelika.

“Riff-Raff” (Fine Line) down 16% to $ 4,611 in fourth weekend at Quad; dropped 40% to $ 2,378 in fourth weekend at Festival.

“Indochine” off just 7% to $ 11,024 in 11th weekend ($ 392,649 to date) at Lincoln Plaza; down 32% to $ 6,460 in third weekend at Quad.

“Passion Fish” down 27% to $ 7,851 in fifth weekend at Gotham; off 24% to $ 7 ,572 in third weekend at Chelsea; lost 31% to $ 5,197 in third weekend at Movieland 8th St.; off 14% to $ 12,445 in second weekend at 84th St. Sixplex.

“Tous les Matins du Monde” (October Films) minus 13% to $ 6,015 in 17th weekend ($ 447,508 to date) at Lincoln Plaza.

“The Oak” (MK2 Prods. USA) moved over to Quad with quiet $ 2,086 first weekend.

“Bad Lieutenant” improved 5% to $ 5,338 in 16th weekend ($ 339,705 to date) at Angelika.

“Guncrazy” (Man Ray Associates) was up 19% to $ 3,971 in sixth weekend at Film Forum 3.

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