Paramount’s “Addams Family Values” scared up the biggest heat over the weekend with an opening gross of $ 14,117,545. That provided the sequel with healthy print averages of $ 5,478.

It gets even better when you consider that Paramount is the only studio that reports based on prints in circulation rather than playdates (see Cinefile, page 23). Though the company doesn’t report the latter, a conservative estimate of 2, 000 situations would push the average to $ 7,058.

New Line’s canine terror, “Man’s Best Friend,” was the only other debuting wide release. The genre entry dogged the higher-profile fare to finish fifth with $ 3,861,079. It definitely did the trick as a quick programmer title, barking out a neat $ 3,162 average.

The past weekend shaped up very much like the calm before the Thanksgiving storm. Wednesday will see such highly anticipated pictures as Robin Williams in “Mrs. Doubtfire” and big-time stars Eastwood andCostner in “A Perfect World.” The holidayalso has family fare in the form of the animated “We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story” and the latest film version of “The Nutcracker” with Macaulay Culkin.

In addition to the new national releases, three additional films popped up in very limited distribution. Warner Bros.’ “The Saint of Fort Washington” opened in three exclusives and generated a tame $ 19,409. It actually preemed last Wednesday, so its five-day cume is slightly higher at $ 26,287. Neither number bodes well commercially for the earnest contemporary saga of two homeless men. The absence of peerless reviews and/or stellar stars makes the prospects for serious material increasingly problematic in the current marketplace.

MGM’s single-screen launch of the Madonna-Harvey Keitel “Dangerous Game” debuted with the more encouraging figure of $ 17,195. The intense, Hollywood-set drama certainly has enough marketing hooks to snare a hot, specialized crowd.

Almost under the radar was ITC’s “Ed and His Dead Mother,” with a single-screen L.A. gross of $ 673. Do not expect “The Return of the Living Ed.”

The paucity of new titles has resulted in a sizable seasonal box office dip only partially relieved by expansion runs. Columbia increased its playdates of the Michael Keaton starrer “My Life” by more than 50% and still wound up 4% down from its launch weekend. The studio had decidedly better response in widening “The Remains of the Day,” which jumped 54% but will nonetheless require continued attention to weather the upcoming holiday deluge.

One sure prestige competitor will be Miramax’s “The Piano,” which expanded to 99 playdates and registered the company’s best-ever average of $ 15,175.