Shopping First, Moviegoing Second

Warner Bros.' holiday spoof "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" grossed $7.2 to edge out 20th Century Fox's black comedy "The War of the Roses" ($7 million) on a cold holiday weekend--down in business about 25% from the weekend before--that found more people shopping or staying home than seeing movies. Most affected by the box-office freeze-out were three male-oriented studio films with all-star casts. Tri-Star's comedy caper "Family Business" (No. 6), starring Sean Connery, Dustin Hoffman and Matthew Broderick, opened on 1,201 screens with $2.1 million; buddy-buddies Robert De Niro and Sean Penn, two ex-cons disguised as priests in Paramount's "We're No Angels" (No. 8), did $2 million on 1,239 screens, and superstar Paul Newman pulled in only $1.7 million as Louisiana Gov. Earl K. Long in Touchstone's "Blaze" (No. 9). Each of the three films averaged less than $2,000 per screen.

* Of the three critically acclaimed studio films that opened in limited release on Wednesday and performed well over the weekend, Tri-Star's Civil War epic "Glory," starring Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington and Matthew Broderick, finished slightly ahead of Fox's love saga "Enemies, A Love Story" and Warner Bros.' character drama "Driving Miss Daisy." "Glory" grossed $63,661 on three screens for a per-screen average of $21,220.

Weekend Gross/ Screens/ Weeks in Movie (Studio) Total (millions) Average Release 1."Christmas Vacation" $7.2 1,950 3 (Warner Bros.) $33.6 $3,709 2."The War of the Roses" $7 1,395 2 (Fox) $19.2 $5,000 3."Back to the Future Part II" $4.4 2,023 4 (Universal) $75.5 $2,180 4."The Little Mermaid" $2.5 1,249 5 (Disney) $28.9 $2,019 5."The Wizard" $2.1 1,155 1 (Universal) $2.1 $1,855 *"Glory" $63,661 3 1 (Tri-Star) $74,732 $21,220

SOURCE: Entertainment Data, Inc.

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