General News

THE COMING BOX OFFICE WEEKEND (OCT. 13-15, 2000):

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May 08, 2001 | 4:19am EDT

Moviegoers and "Parents" should meet again in first place given the gloomy expectations for this weekend's new releases.

While most top level studio marketing and distribution executives were in Orlando this week for ShowEast, the annual convention of exhibitors and distributors, the handful of Hollywood handicappers left minding the store see the holdovers "Meet the Parents" and "Remember the Titans" as the films most likely to perform well.

Universal's PG-13-rated comedy "Meet the Parents," which opened to a sizzling $28.6 million last week, is a safe bet to hold on to the top spot. If it falls 25%, it will still do about $21.5 million. Even a 30% drop would give it a $20 million second weekend.

"It's kind of crystal-ballish, but based on what's out there, 'Meet the Parents' could very well be number one again," one insider volunteered while on the run between ShowEast receptions.

"Parents'" broad playability is clearly working in its favor, with younger moviegoers drawn by Ben Stiller and adults attracted by Robert De Niro.

Directed by Jay Roach, director of "Austin Powers" and its blockbuster sequel, "Parents" stars De Niro and Stiller.

Buena Vista/Disney's PG-rated football theme drama "Remember the Titans," which expanded last weekend and placed second with $19.2 million, should continue as the box office runner-up.

Although "Titans" was off only 8% last weekend, its drop was cushioned by adding 1,865 new runs. Its second weekend decline was about 20% in its original theaters. "Titans" should have good legs. If it slides by only another 20% or so, it should still tackle $15-16 million.

Directed by Boaz Yakin and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Chad Oman, "Titans" stars Denzel Washington.

Watch for a close race for third place between New Line's opening (at 1,970 theaters) of its R-rated horror thriller "Lost Souls," Artisan Entertainment's kick off (at 1,489 theaters) of its R-rated romantic comedy "Dr. T and the Women," and Paramount's launch (at 2,022 theaters) of its R-rated urban appeal comedy "The Ladies Man."

All three new titles are likely to wind up in the unexciting $7.5-10 million range. When the box office dust settles, they'll round out the Top Five.

Directed by Janusz Kaminski, "Souls" stars Winona Ryder and Ben Chaplin.

Directed by Robert Altman, "Dr. T" stars Richard Gere, Helen Hunt, Farrah Fawcett, Laura Dern, Shelley Long, Tara Reid, Kate Hudson and Liv Tyler.

Directed by Reginald Hudlin, "Ladies" stars Tim Meadows, Karyn Parsons and Billy Dee Wiliams.

The weekend's other wide opening, DreamWorks' R-rated political thriller "The Contender," could just miss the Top Five, despite good reviews.

Moviegoers' votes for "Contender," which is running at 1,516 theaters, could add up to $4.5-$5.5 million. But don't write it off yet. If the public likes "Contender" as much as critics have, good word of mouth could help it find its audience in the weeks ahead.

Written and directed by Rod Lurie, "Contender" stars Gary Oldman, Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges and Christian Slater.

Filling out lower rungs: "The Exorcist," "Get Carter," "Almost Famous" and "Urban Legends."

This weekend will also see Universal's opening in limited release of its critically-acclaimed, R-rated drama "Billy Elliot," the first title from the studio's new Universal Focus banner.

"Billy" will kick off at 10 theaters in six top markets (New York, L.A., Boston, Toronto, Chicago and San Francisco). Universal plans a slow roll out to enable word of mouth to build and favorable reviews to circulate.

Directed by Stephen Daldry, "Billy" stars Julie Walters, Gary Lewis, Jamie Bell, Jamie Draven and Adam Cooper.

Sony Pictures Classics' unrated comedy "Just Looking" opens exclusive engagements in New York and L.A.

Directed by Jason Alexander, "Looking" stars Gretchen Mol and Patti Lu Pone.

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