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No Place Like ‘Home Alone’ at Box Office : Movies: The holiday comedy caper earns $14.4 million to fend off Stephen King’s ‘Misery’ for week’s No. 1 spot.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

In its opening weekend, “Misery"--the latest thriller based on a Stephen King novel--scared up solid ticket sales of $10 million.

Still, the Columbia Pictures’ release, starring James Caan as a best-selling novelist held prisoner by his No. 1 fan, had to settle for the No. 2 spot at the box office--behind the family comedy “Home Alone.”

The 20th Century Fox PG-rated film--about an 8-year-old boy (Macaulay Culkin) who defends his home from a pair of bungling burglars when he’s left at home alone for the holidays--earned $14.4 million at 1,342 theaters, for a per-screen average of $10,721.

That reflects a drop of 31% over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, which saw the film earn a startling $30 million over five days. After just three weeks, the $15-million film produced by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus has grossed more than $66 million.

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Directed by Rob Reiner, with a screenplay by William Goldman (“Magic”), the R-rated “Misery” opened at 1,244 screens for a per-screen average of $8,100.

In the No. 3 spot--down 41% from its opening weekend--was Disney/Touchstone Pictures’ “Three Men and a Little Lady.” The sequel to the 1987 hit, “Three Men and a Baby,” had ticket sales of $8 million on 1,282 screens--an average of $6,269 a screen.

With ticket sales of $7 million, Orion Pictures’ “Dances With Wolves"--directed by and starring Kevin Costner--took fourth place. The sprawling three-hour Western was shown on 1,053 screens, where it averaged $6,671. After four weeks--two of them in wide release--it has earned $24.4 million.

In fifth place, with ticket sales of $4.1 million--representing a 52% drop over its opening weekend receipts-- was Fox’s science fiction-action sequel “Predator II.” In its second weekend the film averaged just $2,097 on 1,978 screens.

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Sixth place went to MGM/UA’s “Rocky V,” which plummeted 55% over the previous week. With receipts of $3.3 million on 1,569 screens, it averaged a wobbly $3,303 per-screen.

Rounding out the top 10 were “The Rescuers Down Under” (Disney), seventh place, $2 million; “Ghost” (Paramount), eighth place, $1.85 million; “Child’s Play II” (Universal), ninth place, $1.3 million; “Jacob’s Ladder” (Tri-Star Pictures), 10th place, $846,000.


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