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.
MGM/UA executives weren't throwing in the towel yet, however. "We're extremely pleased. We knew it was going to be a tough race. We had anticipated the films would go neck-to-neck," said Barry Glasser, senior vice president of publicity. The studio touted "Rocky V's" debut as its biggest non-holiday weekend, ever--and the studio's second biggest opening, following "Rocky IV" (which earned $19.9 million over the three-day weekend following Thanksgiving, 1985.)
Elsewhere at the box office: Universal Pictures' "Child's Play II"--which took the No. 1 spot last week--plummeted about 50%, to take third place at the box office with receipts of $5 million.
In fourth place was Disney's animated "The Rescuers Down Under," with $3.5 million. Aimed at youngsters, the sequel to the 1977 film, is expected to build through the holidays, especially during the school break.
Rounding out the Top Five was Paramount Pictures' "Ghost," which earned another $3 million (bringing its grosses to a heavenly $190.3 million).
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE
Movie Weekend Screens/ Weeks in Total (Studio) Gross Average Release Gross 1. "Home Alone" $17.0 1,202 1 $17.0 (20th Century-Fox) Million $14,211 Million 2. "Rocky V" $14.0 2,053 1 $14.0 (MGM/UA) Million $6,855 Million 3. "Child's Play II" $5.0 2,017 2 $18.1 (Universal) Million $2,480 Million 4. "The Rescuers Down Under" $3.5 1,230 1 $3.5 (Buena Vista) Million $2,845 Million 5. "Ghost" $3.0 1,013 19 $190.3 (Paramount) Million $2,963 Million
SOURCES: Exhibitor Relations Co.