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'Wayne's World' and 'Stop!' draw crowds despite critics


LOS ANGELES -- That box-office comet, "Wayne's World," hurled off a challenge from the new Sylvester Stallone comedy "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot" over the weekend.

The "Saturday Night Live" spinoff remained where it made its premiere a week ago: at the top of the movie attendance chart with another $11.8 million worth of ticket sales. The rock 'n' roll comedy's 10-day total is a way excellent $33.5 million.

Meanwhile "Stop!" -- in which Stallone's tough cop is taken down by a visit from his interfering mother (Estelle Getty of "The Golden Girls") -- hit a solid, if not spectacular, second-plus bull's-eye. The critically disowned comedy made $7 million and change, a little bit better than the gross that greeted Stallone's last attempt at levity, "Oscar."

Speaking of Oscars, last week's Academy Awards nominations announcement seemed to have little effect on the anointed films. Only top nomination-getter "Bugsy" -- playing on twice as many screens as it did the previous weekend -- saw a marked increase in business, rising 177 percent. But that was only good enough for a 10th-place finish. Fellow Oscar contenders "JFK" and "The Prince of Tides" didn't even make the top 10, while seventh-ranked "Beauty and the Beast" did only 75 percent as much business as it did over the preceding, extended Presidents' Day holiday.

Long-distance runner "Fried Green Tomatoes" held onto its third-place berth with another $5 million, which brought the southern fried sisterhood epic's cumulative take to $41 million. The next three in the ranking -- "Medicine Man," "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" and "Final Analysis" -- all lost more than 40 percent of their audiences; but remember, those numbers reflect a three-day weekend's drop from the previous four-day weekend.

No such qualifiers, unfortunately, can be applied to the disastrous debut of "Radio Flyer." The troubled production -- made from one of the most expensive scripts ever auctioned -- simply could not get off the ground. Its odd mixture of child-abuse drama and flyaway fantasy sold a mere $1.9 million worth of tickets.

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