VIDEO RENTALS : Home Viewers Go for 'sex, lies and videotape'

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Sexy "sex, lies, and videotape" leaped into the Top Five--from No. 11--of the Billboard magazine rental chart after just three weeks on the chart. Though it started as an inexpensive, art-house movie, the critical raves and public interest in its seamy subject matter turned it into a money-maker ($24.6 million gross). This is one of the rare films to make it to the Top Five without a big-name star--though James Spader and Andie MacDowell, relative unknowns when this movie came out last year--have become fairly popular since then. "The Little Mermaid" entered the chart at a relatively low No. 29 but could float into the Top 10 next week. Another potential rental hit, the Eddie Murphy comedy "Harlem Nights," also debuted low, No. 39, but could jump into the upper echelons next week.

* Will people rent a Christmas movie in May? Apparently--if it's part of Chevy Chase's wacky National Lampoon "Vacation" series. It debuted at No. 12 on the chart and may spring into the Top Five next week.

Ranking Weeks Ranking 2 Weeks On Rental Top Rentals Last Week Ago Chart 1. "Look Who's Talking" 1 1 5 (RCA/Columbia) 2. "Sea of Love" 2 4 4 (MCA/Universal) 3. "Black Rain" (Paramount) 4 5 4 4. "Dead Poets Society" 3 2 8 (Touchstone) 5. "sex, lies, and 11 14 3 videotape"(RCA/Columbia) * "National Lampoon's ... ... 1 Christmas Vacation" (Warner)

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