"'Grinch' is going to be number one," an insider predicts without having to think twice. "You can count on $30 million-plus, and it could even be much higher. The question is will the market expand? I believe that it can."
The PG-rated comedy adventure "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" from Universal and Imagine Entertainment, opening at 3,127 theaters and on over 4,200 screens, is expected to turn box offices everywhere green.
Paramount and Nickelodeon Movies' G-rated animated sequel "Rugrats in Paris: The Movie" should be a lively number two, opening at 2,934 theaters.
"The first 'Rugrats' opened to $27 million, but there was nothing else in the market that weekend for kids. It's probably unrealistic to think they could get much above $20 million given the presence of 'The Grinch,'" a distributor speculates. The original "The Rugrats Movie" kicked off to $27.3 million the weekend of Nov. 20-22, 1998, at 2,782 theaters, averaging $9,821 per theater.
"There's only so many movies kids can go to on a non-holiday weekend. I think 'Rugrats' will not open as big, but will play better through the Thanksgiving holiday. Its audience is going to come see the movie, but it may be their second choice after 'Grinch.' But they'll still get to the movie."
"It gets hurt by 'Grinch,'" an insider adds. "There's no doubt about that."
Directed by Stig Bergqvist and Paul Demeyer, it was produced by Arlene Klasky and Gabor Csupo.
Columbia's PG-13-rated action adventure comedy "Charlie's Angels" dropped 39% last weekend to $24.6 million. If it falls 40% this time around, it will do about $15 million, which could put it in third or fourth place, depending on how well "The 6th Day" dawns.
"'Charlie's Angels' could be around $15 million, and it could really be challenged by '6th Day,'" observes a distributor. "They could each do $12-15 million."
"There's no woman's picture in the market, so they could luck out a little on 'Bounce,'" says another insider, who thinks it will "be lucky to do $10 million."
"It could be 'Bounce,'" replies a source talking about fifth place. "But if 'Bounce' doesn't get to the $10 million mark, it could be 'Meet the Parents' or 'Men Of Honor.' That could be a tight race there. 'Bounce' has to be better than $8 million because 'Men Of Honor' and 'Meet the Parents' look like they could be $8 million."
Universal's PG-13-rated blockbuster comedy "Meet the Parents" has grossed over $130 million in six weeks and is heading for a domestic theatrical gross of $160 million or more.
New Line's PG-13-rated youth appeal comedy "Little Nicky," which opened in second place last weekend to a disappointing $16.1 million, is expected to drop big time.
"I think 'Little Nicky' falls apart," predicts one distributor. "It looks like it'll be below $8 million.
20th Century Fox's R-rated Navy divers drama "Men of Honor," which surfaced in third place last weekend with $13.3 million, should sink to sixth place.
"I don't feel any heat on that picture," insists another handicapper.
On this weekend's expansion front, Sony Pictures Classics will open its R-rated documentary about the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre "One Day In September" in exclusive engagements in New York and Los Angeles.
Directed by Kevin MacDonald, it was produced by Arthur Cohn and John Battsek.