"Scary Movie" has a good shot at scaring up this weekend's biggest grosses.
"I think it's going to open to north of $20 million, maybe $25 million," a studio executive speculates in view of its 27 percent overall first-choice tracking. "It's going to be between 'Scary Movie' and 'Perfect Storm' for first place. Both could be in the mid-twenties, but 'Scary Movie' could take it."
"It skews very high for the under 25 group," another insider adds. "It's 43 percent first choice for males and 45 percent for females. So it's obviously young teenagers. It could open to $25-30 million."
The R-rated teen appeal comedy from Miramax's Dimension Films label combines gross-out comedy with a spoof of classic horror flicks. It is opening very wide; Dimension was still doing its final tabulations, but insiders figure it will go into 2,800-plus theaters.
Last weekend Warner Bros. opened its PG-13-rated adventure drama "Storm" to $41.3 million for three days and $62.7 million for the five-day July Fourth holiday. If it drops 45 percent, it will do about $22.7 million in its second weekend.
"My gut feeling is 'Scary Movie' takes it because, I think, a lot of 'Perfect Storm's' customers are 'Scary Movie's' customers," this insider predicts. "Young males who ran to see 'Perfect Storm' because it was a big special effects movie are going to go see 'Scary Movie.'"
Among opening and released films, "Storm" was only a 17 percent overall first choice in late week tracking studies. One observer (and not someone connected to "Patriot," by the way) saw that as an indication that it could move downstream to third place while the better tracking "Patriot" holds on to second. But, others caution, last week's tracking didn't favor "Storm," and it still managed to capture first place.
Mel Gibson's "The Patriot" should retreat from second to third place in its second weekend. The R-rated period piece drama from Columbia Pictures and Centropolis Entertainment kicked off to an encouraging $22.4 million last weekend. It took in $31.7 million for the five-day extended weekend and wound up with a first week cume of $44.5 million.
Late in the week, "Patriot" was an encouraging 25 percent overall first choice in tracking studies among opening and released films.
"I think 'Patriot' should have a better hold than 'Perfect Storm,'" a distributor observes. "If it's down 40 percent, it does $13 million - and I think it will do better than that. If it's down 35 percent, it's $14 million. It's somewhere in the mid-teens."
Considering "Patriot's" prospects, another insider comments, "'Patriot's a story about the American Revolution. As wonderful as it may be, you can't get teenagers to go see that stuff. They don't want a history lesson in the summer."
The weekend's other wide opening, Buena Vista/Disney's PG-rated comedy drama "Disney's The Kid," opening at 2,167 theaters, is likely to place fourth.
Although "Kid's" 5 percent overall first-choice tracking left insiders cold, it did have the benefit of good sneak previews last Sunday.
"I don't know what to make of that," one insider said candidly about its low tracking.
"The tracking is not very strong on it," another executive says. "But the awareness is good. Definite interest is soft. It's hard to say, but I just think you don't have a film that comes from Disney with the title ' Disney's The Kid' where parents aren't going to take their kids to see it. It's a 10 percent overall first choice in the tracking among females over 25, which are moms. It sounds like it could open to $10 million-plus.
BV held about 800 "Kid" sneaks Sunday with 70 percent-plus capacity. Those on hand scored it 90 percent in the Top Two Boxes (excellent and very good). The studio said its preview audience was 53 percent female, 69 percent families and 48 percent under 25.
Directed by Jon Turtletaub, "Kid" stars Bruce Willis.
DreamWorks' G-rated animated feature "Chicken Run" was fourth with $13.2 million last weekend (although it was third for the five day July Fourth period with $21.4 million). It's likely to hold up well in its third week and round out the top five with $8-9 million.
Universal's PG-rated live action-computer animated comedy drama "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle," which opened to a weak $6.8 million last weekend, should plunge to seventh place in its second weekend.
USA Films' R-rated suspense drama "Blood Simple - Director's Cut" opens in New York and L.A.
Lions Gate Films' R-rated dark comedy "But I'm A Cheerleader" opens in New York and San Francisco.