In a surprise upset, a 9-year-old kid KO'd Rocky Balboa at the weekend box office. "Home Alone," 20th Century Fox's comedy about a youngster inadvertently left home alone during the holidays, opened with a weekend purse of $17 million at the box office. It grabbed the No. 1 title spot over MGM/UA's much-hyped "Rocky V," starring Sylvester Stallone. With ticket sales of $14 million, the latest "Rocky" sequel had to settle for second place.
Making the victory sweeter still for "Home Alone" producer John Hughes and director Chris Columbus was the fact that their modestly budgeted film (reportedly under $15 million) did its big business on 1,202 screens, giving it a per-screen average of $14,211. "Rocky V" muscled its way onto 2,053 screens, for a per-screen average of $6,855.
Meanwhile, Orion Pictures' Western epic "Dances With Wolves," directed by and starring Kevin Costner, continued its strong performance in limited release. It earned $565,083 on 14 screens, for an average of $40,363. The film, which to date has grossed $1.5 million, faces its toughest test Wednesday, when it goes into wider release on 900-1,000 screens.
According to Tom Sherak, an executive vice president at Fox, the PG-rated "Home Alone" will pick up an additional 150-200 screens this week, when the competition will include another kid comedy, Buena Vista's "Three Men and a Little Lady." "The weekend definitely got us ready for the holidays," said Sherak, who stressed that "Home Alone's" receipts were the largest for a non-sequel in the studio's history.