General News

THE COMING BOX OFFICE WEEKEND

By:
May 08, 2001 | 3:19am EDT

This weekend's box office election is too close to call, according to insiders who see a close race between "Charlie's Angels" and "Little Nicky" for the popular vote.

Columbia's PG-13-rated action adventure comedy kicked off to a record setting $40.1 million last weekend. New Line's PG-13-rated youth appeal comedy "Little Nicky," opening at about 2,910 theaters, is flying high on the Hollywood radar screen.

"It probably will fall less than 50%," an insider predicts about "Angels." "Figure 40%. So you're looking at $24 million. It could be a tight race with 'Little Nicky.' I'd have to say $22-24 million for both of them."

"I think you've got to figure it's 'Charlie's Angels' again unless 'Little Nicky' just really surges here at the last minute, which it could with young males," another studio executive cautions.

Directed by McG, "Angels" stars Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Bill Murray.

Directed by Steven Brill, "Nicky" stars Adam Sandler, Patricia Arquette and Harvey Keitel.

20th Century Fox's R-rated Navy divers drama "Men of Honor," opening at 2,090 theaters, should also be making some big box office waves in third place.

"I think 'Men of Honor' is going to be right up there with $18 million," a distributor speculates.

Directed by George Tillman, Jr., "Honor" stars Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding, Jr.

"The young audience (for 'Nicky') tends to be more impulse buyers," explains an insider. "'Men of Honor' will play older."

The weekend's other wide arrival, Warner Bros.' PG-13-rated sci-fi adventure "Red Planet," is likely to be in a lower orbit despite opening at 2,703 theaters.

Moviegoers' interest in "Red Planet" is, an executive says, "very low except for older males, and they don't go out opening weekend. I would have to call 'Red Planet' $10 million -- if they're lucky."

Those same words are echoed by another studio source: "I think it's lucky to get to $10 million."

If "Planet" arrives to $10 million, it should be orbiting in fourth place, followed closely by Universal's PG-13 comedy blockbuster "Meet the Parents."

Directed by Antony Hoffman, "Planet" stars Val Kilmer, Carrie-Anne Moss and Tom Sizemore.

How will "Parents" hold up? "That's truly a hard call," replies an insider. "You can assume they're going to get hit by all these films, particularly by 'Men of Honor,' which seems to be more adult. 'Parents' has never dropped 25%, so let's assume it drops 25%. It would do about $9.5 million. It could be fourth or fifth, depending on what 'Red Planet' does."

DreamWorks' PG-13-rated drama "The Legend of Bagger Vance" opened in third place last weekend to an unexciting $11.5 million. A 30% drop would give it $8 million, but if it shows better legs and falls, say, 23%, it would do close to $9 million.

"'Bagger Vance' is probably $8-9 million," suggests a distributor, who adds there's not enough room for it to stay in the Top Five.

Directed by Jay Roach, "Parents" stars Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller.

Directed by Robert Redford, "Bagger" stars Will Smith, Matt Damon and Charlize Theron. DreamWorks partnered with 20th Century Fox to make "Bagger," which Fox is distributing internationally.

Filling out lower rungs: "Remember the Titans," "Bedazzled," "Pay It Forward" and "The Little Vampire."

On this weekend's expansion front, Universal will continue to go wider with its R-rated, critically-acclaimed drama "Billy Elliot," expanding to 495 theaters in 100-plus top markets.

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

Paramount Classics' R-rated drama "You Can Count On Me" opens in limited release.

Written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, it stars Laura Linney.

Earlier this week (Wednesday), Paramount re-issued its R-rated dark comedy "Wonder Boys" in about nine major markets. The studio hopes the well-reviewed film, which opened to disappointing business last February, will attract attention from Motion Picture Academy members. If the picture receives Oscar nominations, that could help it find its audience in a wider re-release.

Directed by Curtis Hanson, "Wonder Boys" stars Michael Douglas.

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