B.O. FORECAST: A ‘Hollow’ Weekend

It’s a weekend of questions at the box office.

Will “Hollow Man” leave audiences feeling empty? Will “Coyote Ugly” be sitting pretty? Will “Space Cowboys” get stuck at the launchpad due to arthritis?

Or will “Nutty Professor II: The Klumps” feast upon moviegoers’ money for the second weekend in a row?

None of this weekend’s newcomers appears to have the mass appeal needed to crack the $20 million mark, which seems to be the prerequisite for a No. 1 opening these days. That might leave Eddie Murphy’s flabby comedy as the big winner; if so, it’ll be the first film to top the box office heap for two consecutive weekends in two months.

Here’s a brief overview of this weekend’s openers:

“Hollow Man” HOLLOW MAN (See the trailer) The Skinny: Kevin Bacon is a nutty scientist who discovers the secret of invisibility. Not content to merely be a see-through dude, Bacon uses his new power to terrorize everyone. Cool. The Upside: Bacon doesn’t become invisible all at once; he vanishes in layers, so you can see his skin and organs, then his skeleton, then poof! Nothing. The Downside: Once he’s gone, there’s nothing left to this flick.

“Coyote Ugly” COYOTE UGLY (See the trailer) The Skinny: A coming-of-age story about a small-town girl (Piper Perabo) trying to make it as a songwriter and bartender in the big city. The Upside: Good lookin’ women. Lots of ’em. With tight clothes. The Downside: It’s “Valley of the Dolls” without the pills, sexism and, unfortunately, the campy fun.

“Space Cowboys”

SPACE COWBOYS (See the trailer) The Skinny: Four old ex-pilots are launched into space to repair a broken-down Russian satellite. Little do they realize the true purpose of their mission. The Upside: Clint Eastwood is one bad dude, even in his autumn years. The Downside: Donald Sutherland and James Garner are not bad dudes; Tommy Lee Jones is a bad dude, but he’s curiously younger than the rest of these geezers.

Meanwhile, don’t forget “What Lies Beneath,” “X-Men,” “Scary Movie” and “The Perfect Storm,” all of which ain’t dead yet.