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‘Rookie’ Gets Lesson From Pair of Punks : Box office: ‘Home Alone’ whips competition with $14.6-million week. ‘Edward Scissorhands’ takes in a nice cut with limited release.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Clint Eastwood’s latest action film took a beating--yes, from an 8-year-old boy left home alone during the holidays--during a box office weekend that also saw a special lad named “Edward Scissorhands” put in a strong performance in limited release.

“The Rookie,” directed by and starring Eastwood and co-starring Charlie Sheen as his young, upstart partner, had ticket sales of about $5.5 million on 1,862 screens, for a weak per-screen average of $2,953. The Warner Bros. film, which ranked third among weekend titles, is Eastwood’s second disappointment of the year, following his critically admired box office dud, “White Hunter, Black Heart.”

Released on just two screens, 20th Century Fox’s “Edward Scissorhands,” directed by Tim Burton (“Beetlejuice,” “Batman”) and starring Johnny Depp as an unusual young man with scissors for hands, had ticket sales of about $159,000--for a startling $79,500 per-screen.

Also startling was the fourth-week performance of Fox’s “Home Alone,” which again claimed the No. 1 spot--jumping 2% over the previous week’s earnings--with receipts of about $14.6 million on 1,342 screens for a per-screen average of $10,879.

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In second place, down 29% from its opening weekend, was Columbia Pictures’ “Misery.” Directed by Rob Reiner from Stephen King’s novel about an imprisoned writer, the film earned about $7.1 million on 1,299 screens for a per-screen average of $5,465.

Orion Pictures’ “Dances With Wolves” was ranked fourth, with receipts of about $5.3 million on 1,054 screens, an average of $5,028. Touchstone Pictures’ “Three Men and a Little Lady"--after just three weeks in release--spiraled to fifth place with ticket sales of about $4.6 million on 1,282 screens, an average of $3,588.

In other box office news, Paramount Pictures’ “Ghost” earned another $1.34 million for ninth place. With grosses of $199.94 million, the film is expected to materialize into the $200-million zone tonight.

Meanwhile, the action sequels “Predator II” and “Rocky V” continued their plummets. From Fox, the sixth-place “Predator II” dropped another 51% over the previous week, with receipts of about $2 million. And MGM/UA’s “Rocky V” slipped another 43%, with ticket sales of approximately $1.9 million, to seventh place.

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