Times Staff Writer

With its $79.95 price tag, "Police Academy," last year's sleeper comedy hit, hasn't been a huge seller.

It debuted last week at No. 12 on the Billboard magazine videocassette sales chart and this week slipped to No. 15. But the so-so sales figures don't mean it's a bust as a videocassette. Renters are wild about it. In just three weeks, it's become the No. 1 rental.

So far, Duran Duran's "Dancing on the Valentine" hasn't been a must for their teen-aged female fans. Even the relatively inexpensive $16.95 price hasn't helped. It entered the chart last week at No. 16 and this week dropped to No. 22.

"Trading Places," which has been bouncing up and down the chart, just bounced from No. 21 back up to No. 9. The Eddie Murphy-Dan Ackroyd comedy has been selling again in recent weeks due to a cheaper price tag--$24.95. Also, the extraordinary success of Murphy's current movie, "Beverly Hills Cop," has probably inspired some fans to buy his old movies. His "48 HRS." (No. 12) is also still selling.

RENTALS: "The Natural" has shown surprising strength in the rental market. Consistently in the Top Five, it inched up to No. 2 this week. . . . So far, "Streets of Fire"--No. 18 in both its chart weeks--hasn't set the rental market on fire. . . . "The Neverending Story", No. 8 after three weeks, is a surprise rental hit. . . . Debuts: the Alfred Hitchcock classic, "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (No. 32). TOP VIDEOCASSETTES, SALES 1. "Purple Rain" (Warner Bros.). 2. "Jane Fonda's Workout" (Karl Video). 3. "The Empire Strikes Back" (CBS Fox). 4. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (Paramount). 5. "An Officer and a Gentleman" (Paramount). 6. "Prime Time" (Karl Video). 7. "Star Wars" (CBS-Fox). 8. "The Natural" (RCA/Columbia). 9. "Trading Places"(Paramount). 10. "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" (Paramount). TOP VIDEOCASSETTES, RENTALS 1. "Police Academy" (Ladd/Warner Bros.). 2. "The Natural" (RCA/Columbia). 3. "Purple Rain" (Warner Bros.). 4. "The Empire Strikes Back" (CBS-Fox). 5. "Romancing the Stone" (CBS-Fox). 6. "The Last Starfighter" (Universal). 7. "Dreamscape" (Thorn/EMI). 8. "The Neverending Story" (Warner Bros.). 9. "Splash" (Touchstone). 10. "Greystoke: the Legend of Tarzan" (Warner Bros.).

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