Here's a scouting report of the B.O. race ahead:
"Me, Myself & Irene" ME, MYSELF & IRENE (See the trailer) The skinny: Jim Carrey plays a guy with split personalities -- one a nice guy, one a weirdo -- who are both in love with the same woman (Carrey's real-life squeeze, Renee Zellweger) The upside: Gitesh Pandya, editor of Boxofficeguru.com, tells us: "This film has a lot of commercial factors going for it. It's Jim Carrey doing physical comedy, and that's the comedy people like him the best in. It's got the directors from 'Dumb and Dumber' and 'There's Something About Mary,' and they’ve become stars themselves. Their name means gross-out comedy, pushing the envelope. The marketing has been tremendous on this film, and most of the other films out there are action. The only other major comedy is 'Big Momma's House,' which is already in its fourth weekend, so people are ready for a new comedy." The downside: It's rated R. Says Pandya: "That may cut into its business. A big percentage of Jim Carrey's fan base is young boys, and a certain percentage of that fan base will not be able to see it, unless they go with a parent or an adult."
"Chicken Run" CHICKEN RUN (See the trailer) The skinny: It's "The Great Escape" with chickens subbing for Steve McQueen et. al. and factory farming subbing for the gas chambers of a concentration camp. The upside: It's different, and it's good. Says Pandya: "The quality is definitely there. I think it will have a moderate to good opening and then have strong legs. It’s a different type of animation, so many of the fans will probably give it good word of mouth. I think this is a movie that will make its money over the long term. The competition among family films is less than what it was a couple weeks back, and kids are getting out of school right now." The downside: Do American kids get British humor? Can they even decipher a British accent? Says Pandya: "Obviously some of it will go over kids' heads, so the parents may appreciate some of the humor more than the kids. But it is about chickens, it is animated. Kids understand that."