SHORT TAKES : ‘Back to Future’ Falls Off; Still Leads Box Office Pack

<i> From Times Staff and Wire Service Reports</i>

Universal’s “Back to the Future Part II,” which toppled box-office records last weekend with a five-day holiday opening of $43 million, fell more than 70% this weekend but led the box office with an estimated $12.1 million, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Last weekend, the futuristic comedy starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd averaged $23,065 per-screen, compared to $6,490 this weekend.

Following a $100-million-plus Thanksgiving weekend, the overall ticket sales dropped almost 55% to an estimated $48.2 million.

Chevy Chase opened well in Warner Bros.’ new comedy release “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” which finished No. 2 in the box office with $11.7 million. After three weeks, interest seems to be waning in Eddie Murphy’s “Harlem Nights.” The Paramount comedy grossed $5.2 million--compared to $16.1 million over the five-day weekend--for a low per-screen average of $2,387 on 2,180 screens. Tri-Star’s “Steel Magnolias” picked up 243 screens and grossed $4.8 million. Disney’s animated fairy tale “The Little Mermaid” claimed the No. 5 spot with $4 million.

On Saturday, Tri-Star’s surprise hit “Look Who’s Talking,” which was released in the slower fall season, topped the $100-million mark. After 8 weeks in release, the film has grossed a total of $101.5 million.