B.O. FORECAST: ‘Gone’ Arrives

HOLLYWOOD, June 8, 2000 – Forget “Gladiator.” This weekend it’s the Clash of the Titans, as Nic Cage jumps into the ring and tests Tom Cruise’s box-office legs.

Cage and Oscar winner Angelina Jolie topline “Gone In 60 Seconds,” a very big-budget remake of a very low-budget 1970s drive-in flick about a ring of daredevil auto thieves. After two weeks at No. 1, it looks like Cruise and his “M:I-2” are headed for a supporting role.

“It’s going to be a pretty big weekend,” says Paul Dergarabedian of the box-office tracking firm Exhibitor Relations. “‘Gone In 60 Seconds’ is just going to be tremendous. It’s got a terrific trailer, a great marketing campaign, and any guy between the age of 12 and 60 will want to see this thing.”

Lest you think a non-holiday weekend in early June isn’t the best time to put out a big new flick, take note that exactly one year ago, “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” opened and made a whopping $54 million. In other words, unless something goes dreadfully wrong, “Gone In 60 Seconds” will rake it in likewise.

Here’s a brief overview of this weekend’s main event:

GONE IN 60 SECONDS (See the trailer) The skinny: A cool dude (Cage) and a cool chick (Jolie) steal cars and lead the cops on interminable, but equally cool, car chases. The upside: Vroom, vroom, crash, boom! If you don’t love a great car chase, you’re probably a Communist. Either that, or you’re a girl. The downside: With gas prices at all-time highs, how dare Hollywood put such shameless fuel-wasting gluttony on display?

Elsewhere, “M:I-2” and “Dinosaur” will continue to make lots and lots of money, while other recent contenders like “Shanghai Noon,” “Frequency,” and “Gladiator” will vie to remain in Top 10 contention.