B.O. FORECAST: Hanks Cast Away?

Looks like Tom Hanks has finally met his match.

And believe it or not, it is in Julia “Teen Beat” Stiles.

That’s right. Hanks’ seemingly invincible “Cast Away” withstood the test of supremacy last week with the wide release of “Traffic” (although “Traffic” played in many less theaters). But this weekend (a four-day weekend for most kids due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday), it’s likely that the bubble gum flick “Save the Last Dance” could knock “Cast Away” off the No. 1 spot.

Then again, it might not.

OK, you got us. We’re not definite about anything this weekend. But before you go throwing your popcorn at us, hear us out.

“This is a very crowded marketplace,” Brandon Gray, editor of boxofficemojo.com, told Hollywood.com. “It’s going to be a busy weekend, with all the new releases and the expanding releases.”

And then there’s the thing with this being a four-day weekend. All these factors combined have made this a very interesting weekend to predict.

However, one thing is for sure though: This is going to be a huge moneymaking weekend.

To wit: Besides “Dance,” the multiplexes will see the bowing of “Antitrust” and “Double Take.” Then there are “Thirteen Days” and “Finding Forrester” — two acclaimed films that are going wide this weekend.

And let’s not forget the proven crowd pleaser “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” which is expanding from a very limited release to 700 screens.

And did we mention strong holdovers such as “What Women Want,” “Traffic,” “Miss Congeniality” and “The Family Man,” which will also compete for their slice of the box office pie?

But per Gray’s calculation, “Cast Away” is likely to hold on to the No. 1 slot, with No. 2 going to “Save the Last Dance.”

According to Gray, No. 3, 4 and 5 are fair play between “Traffic,” “Finding Forrester” and “What Women Want.” “Miss Congeniality” seems to have a lock with the sixth slot, as does “Double Take” in the No. 7 slot.

But when it comes to lucky No. 8, it is completely up for grabs between “Crouching Tiger,” “Family Man” and “The Emperor’s New Groove.”

Gray didn’t forget about “Antitrust,” which he thinks is only good enough for the No. 12 spot.

Judge for yourself. Here’s a closer look at all the new major players this weekend.


THE SKINNY: A white girl (Julia Stiles) moves to the other side of town — aka the ghetto — and meets a black boy (Sean Patrick Thomas) in her school. Besides a mutual love for hip-hop dancing and ballet, they also share an interest in each other (of course) to the chagrin of everyone around them.

THE UPSIDE: “It seems to be the most promising of the three new releases. This is a notorious time to release a teen picture, like in January of 1999 with ‘Varsity Blues.’ And ‘Down to You‘ was released around this time last year,” Gray said.

“It will get the teen girl and the urban audience. And [with films in this genre,] it really doesn’t matter if there’s a star in it or not. It could knock ‘Cast Away‘ off, but I wouldn’t bank on it completely.”

THE DOWNSIDE: Remember the MTV movie “Love Song” with Monica and Christian Kane? Well, this is just like that flick except for the dancing part and gender reversal. “DOUBLE TAKE”

THE SKINNY: A banker (Orlando Jones) on the lam teams up with a street hustler (Eddie Griffin) who ends up being a fed.

THE UPSIDE: “This is the second most-promising film this weekend,” Gray said. “The studio is certainly hoping for a ‘Rush Hour‘ rather than a ‘Bait‘ …”

THE DOWNSIDE: “… but the film looks like it’s going to be another ‘Bait,'” Gray predicts. “ANTITRUST

THE SKINNY: A young programming geek (Ryan Phillippe) gets a crash course on corporate America when he is recruited to work for a huge Silicon Valley company called NURV owned by an older computer geek (Tim Robbins).

THE UPSIDE: To see a post-“The Way of the GunPhillippe — clean-shaven, bathed and all.

THE DOWNSIDE: Like it or not, the film looks like it is going to get lost in the shuffle this weekend.