"National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" pratfalled to the top of the box office, replacing the dark comedy "The War of the Roses," while Roseanne Barr's debut film "She-Devil" descended from the Top 10.
The Eddie Murphy-Richard Pryor collaboration "Harlem Nights" nose-dived, and three other films with Oscar-caliber talent - "Family Business," "We're No Angels" and "Blaze" - debuted poorly.Warner Bros.' "Christmas Vacation," starring Chevy Chase, had a 24 percent drop in receipts but still hopped from No. 2 to No. 1. It brought in $7.2 million for a three-week total of $33.6 million, according to Exhibitor Relations Co.
The biggest box office losers were "She-Devil," teaming TV's Barr and Oscar winner Meryl Streep, which fell from fourth to out of the Top 10, and "Harlem Nights," which dropped from sixth to 10th place in a 41 percent revenue slide.
The talented trio of Dustin Hoffman, Sean Connery and Matthew Broderick couldn't help "Family Business," about three generations of criminals, debut any higher than No. 6, with a meager $2.1 million.
Finishing seventh was the all-star ensemble "Steel Magnolias," and the pairing of two other big stars, Robert DeNiro and Sean Penn, produced an eighth-place debut for "We're No Angels."
The Paul Newman-starring "Blaze," the story of Louisiana Gov. Earl Long's love affair with a stripper, opened at No. 9 with $1.7 million.
Joining "She-Devil" in the drop from the Top 10 were "Look Who's Talking," "Prancer" and "All Dogs Go to Heaven."
- Filmdom's dream of its first $5 billion year at North America's movie houses went up the chimney in smoke last week as moviegoers apparently went Christmas shopping instead.
Overall, it was a disappointing pre-Christmas weekend that saw the top 10 films drop 12 percent from the 1988 total for the comparable week. The slowdown in earnings has probably quashed Hollywood's dream of its first $5 billion year.
Still, the total gross from all 23,000 North American theaters was $79.8 million as opposed to $74.1 million a year ago.
So far in 1989 total box-office receipts are $4.6 billion, far ahead of the $4.1 billion for 1988 at this time. But not enough to break the $5 billion mark before time runs out.
Here are the top movies as tallied by Entertainment Data and Exhibitor Relations:
1. "NATIONAL LAMPOON'S CHRISTMAS VACATION," $7.23 million ($33.64 million, three weeks). 2. "The War of the Roses," $6.98 million ($19.18 million, two weeks). 3. "Back to the Future Part II," $4.41 million ($75.54 million, three weeks). 4. "The Little Mermaid," $2.52 million ($28.94 million, five weeks). 5. "The Wizard," $2.14 million (first week). 6. "Family Business," $2.13 million (first week). 7. "Steel Magnolias," $2.09 million ($30.7 million, five weeks). 8. "We're No Angels," $2.05 million (first week). 9. "Blaze," $1.74 million (first week). 10. "Harlem Nights," $1.72 million ($49.48 million, five weeks). Input file was /asst/csi/1224/pass2/0018 Output file was /asst/csi/1224/pass3/0018