General News

Bring on 'The Contender'

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Aug 16, 2001 | 9:13am EDT

"Meet the Parents" and "Remember the Titans" took the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively, last week. And guess what, the smart bets are that they’ll remain in those positions again this week.

"’Meet the Parents’ and 'Remember the Titans' are going to be the top two films again," Brandon Gray of boxofficemojo.com told Hollywood.com. "’Meet’ had a stunning opening. Even if it takes a hit, it is still going to make a sizable amount. The film has the momentum right now, and it’s clearly the top movie."

As for "Remember the Titans," Gray predicts that it’ll stick to the runner-up slot again this week for the simple fact that it is a crowd-pleasing film, meaning that it makes people feel all warm and fuzzy.

But if you’ve already seen the above two films, there are other choices out there.

Here’s a glimpse at the films opening this weekend.

The Skinny: Tim Meadows takes his "Saturday Night Live" skit as a clueless talk show host and hapless ladykiller to the big screen. The Upside: Gray predicted that the film, being the strongest candidate opening this weekend, will probably take No. 3 at the box office. It’s not that "SNL" movies don’t do well; it’s that the film has the misfortune of competing for the same audience as "Meet the Parents" this weekend. The Downside: "Ladies Man" was never that funny as a skit.

The Skinny: Just as the title suggests, the film is about gynecologist Dr. T (Richard Gere) and the women (and there’re a lot of them) crowding his life. The Upside: "‘Dr. T’ is a pure chick flick, but it has Richard Gere. And chick flicks plus Richard Gere mean a solid opening. Look at ‘Autumn in New York,’ it made over $11 million (it's opening weekend). It should make about $6 million," Gray said. The Downside: Pity the fool, but the film is not about Mr. T, "The A-Team" guy.

The Skinny: Satan is coming to town. An exorcist, in the form of Winona Ryder, and a reporter, in the form of Ben Chaplin, try to intervene. The Upside: It’s a movie with Winona Ryder and is directed by Steven Spielberg’s longtime cinematographer, Janusz Kaminski (Holly Hunter's husband). Gray thinks that the battle for the No. 4 spot is between "Lost Souls" and "Dr. T," pitting "Autum in New York" stars Gere and Ryder against each other. The Downside: Yeah, the idea of an apocalyptic film is, like, so a year ago.

The Skinny: Joan Allen plays a U.S. senator and vice presidential nominee whose past naughty bedroom plays are leaked into the public realm. Gary Oldman plays a Newt Gingrich-type who relishes at picking open the senator's wounds. The Upside: After hovering in the background in solid flicks such as "Nixon" and "The Ice Storm,"Allen is finally taking center stage. Plus, if quality is what you’re looking for, DreamWorks, aka the studio that can do no wrong, is behind the film. The Downside: It’s a sobering film dealing with the topic of American politics ... as if the country isn’t getting enough of that with George W. Bush and Al Gore.

"’The Contender’ is probably going to be No. 6," Gray said. "It’s got the critical praise, but political movies don’t do very well, especially when it doesn’t have any huge stars to open it."

Meanwhile, expect holdovers such as "The Exorcist" and "Almost Famous" to hang out in the Top 10 when box office results come out Sunday.

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