The PG-13-rated comedy from Universal finished first last weekend with $21.2 million. It actually held even better than its modest 26% decline suggests. Its drop was measured against the previous Sunday, which was a stronger than normal Sunday since the next day was Columbus Day.
"The way that picture's holding up, if it drops another 25% -- and it may actually hold better than that -- it will still do $15 million," an insider speculates. "There won't be anything else that can do $15 million."
Buena Vista/Disney's PG-rated football theme drama "Remember the Titans" finished second last weekend with $13.1 million, a 32% decline.
"If it takes another 30% drop, it's still going to do $9 million," a distributor points out.
To finish second, however, "Titans" will have to outrun Warner Bros.' PG-13-rated drama "Pay It Forward," opening at 2,130 theaters. "Pay" has had two weekends of well-attended sneak previews to help get word of mouth going and could check in with $9-11 million.
20th Century Fox's PG-13-rated comedy "Bedazzled," opening at 2,567 theaters, could conjure up $8-10 million. At the low end of that range, it would probably place fourth, but at the high end it could be third.
The weekend's other wide opening, the R-rated action adventure "The Legend of Drunken Master" from Miramax's Dimension Films label, is going into about 1,500 theaters. It's likely to finish fifth with $6-8 million.
Directed by Lau Ka Leung, it stars Jackie Chan.
On the expansion front, this weekend will see Universal continue its slow roll out of its critically-acclaimed, R-rated drama "Billy Elliot," the first title from the studio's new Universal Focus banner. "Billy" will widen from 10 theaters in six markets to about 38 theaters in 19 top markets.
On the limited release front, Miramax's R-rated suspense drama "The Yards" will kick off in New York, L.A. and Chicago.
Miramax's documentary "Calle 54" opens in New York for a one week Oscar qualifying run.
Directed by Fernando Trueba, it stars Paquito D'Rivera and Tito Puente.