With heavenly grosses clearly on the horizon, "Charlie's Angels" is poised to kick off in first place this weekend.
The PG-13 action adventure comedy opening via Columbia at 3,037 theaters is flying high on Hollywood's advance radar screen.
"I feel this movie is (going to open) closer to $30 million than $20 million," predicts one insider. "I think it's going to get every teenager out there -- male and female."
"Number one by far," agrees another studio executive. "About $25 million-plus. It's (big) across the board. It looks solid in the male category, but extra solid in the young female category."
"Angels" is expected to do what no other film has managed to do the past four weeks -- beat the 'Parents!' After a month atop the chart, Universal's PG-13 comedy blockbuster "Meet the Parents" will probably tumble two rungs to third place given additional competition from DreamWorks' opening at 2,061 theaters of its PG-13 period piece drama "The Legend of Bagger Vance."
"Bagger" should finish second with $15-18 million. "That audience is definitely older women and older males," a studio source points out.
"I would assume it's older (over-25) female and older male to some extent," another executive agrees. "It looks like a period movie. It looks sentimental, and I just don't think that's going to excite teenagers -- not on a weekend that you can go see 'Charlie's Angels.'"
"Parents" fell only 6% last weekend. Could it surprise everyone and come in second? "I don't think so," says an insider. "It's got to take a hit from all these films in the marketplace, particularly 'Bagger Vance.' I'm looking at around $10-11 million for 'Parents.'"
"Number four ought to be 'Book of Shadows,' but I'm thinking that's going to drop by half or more," says a studio source. "Say it's down 55%. I don't think that's unrealistic. That would give it about $6 million.
"Then you've got 'Remember the Titans,' which is another movie that could have only a 25% drop. If that happens, that's at $6 million. So there could be a horse race between 'Titans' and 'Blair Witch 2' for number four, and whichever one loses is fifth."
"I think 'Blair Witch' drops 60%," a distributor adds. "So that'll be $5.3 million. 'Bedazzled' could be duking it out. I think 'Titans' also takes a hit from 'Charlie's Angels.' They'll all be cooped up there in the $5 million range."
On this weekend's expansion front, Universal will go wider with its R-rated, critically-acclaimed drama "Billy Elliot," expanding to 117 runs in the markets the film is already playing in. The weekend of Nov. 10-12 it will move into the top 100 or 120 markets at 500 to 550 theaters.
Also expanding: Artisans unrated drama "Requiem For a Dream."
Lions Gate's PG-13-rated comedy drama "What's Cooking?" opens in New York and L.A.
Looking ahead: Insiders say Universal has been screening Imagine Entertainment's "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" for exhibitors this week and getting excellent reactions from the typically hard-to-please theater owners.