SHORT TAKES : 'Future' Fuels the Box Office; Weekend May Top $100 Million

From Times Staff and wire service reports

Hollywood movie studio executives were still counting receipts from the five-day Thanksgiving weekend this afternoon, but one thing they were sure of: It was the biggest Thanksgiving weekend ever, perhaps topping the $100-million mark.

As expected, "Back to the Future, Part II" jumped to the top of the chart, taking in about $40 million at 1,866 screens between Wednesday's opening and Sunday's last show. The sequel to the 1985 box office smash did $7.7 million opening night and went on to out-gross the previous Thanksgiving holiday champ, "Rocky V," which also opened in 1985.

Although "Harlem Nights," backed by the superstar power of Eddie Murphy, held on to the No. 2 spot in its second weekend with $11.1 million, "Back to the Future" led a holiday weekend surge of family dramas and children's movies: Disney's animated fairy tale "The Little Mermaid" claimed the No. 3 spot with a strong $8.4 million, followed by Tri-Star's tenacious fall hit "Look Who's Talking" ($7.9 million) and ensemble drama "Steel Magnolias" ($7 million); Don Bluth's animated Disney challenge, "All Dogs Go to Heaven" ($5 million); Orion's live-action reindeer fantasy, "Prancer" (estimated $ 3.9 million); Universal's father-son reunion, "Dad" ($2.9 million); and Tri-Star's outdoor adventure "The Bear" ($2.3 million).

Industry box office analysts estimated that the take from this Thanksgiving will be 60% higher than it was one year ago.

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