Bad Company: Christine Loss
Dave Karger
June 07, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Watch your back, Ben Affleck: Your ”Dogma” costar Chris Rock is coming to get you.

Just a week after Affleck’s disaster thriller ”The Sum of All Fears” premiered impressively with $31.2 million, his perch atop the box office will be challenged by Rock’s action comedy, ”Bad Company.” And the new guy will likely win.

”Company” stars Rock as a street hustler who teams up with a CIA agent played by Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins after Rock’s character’s twin brother, also a CIA operative, is killed. But when we’re talking about a Chris Rock comedy, who really cares about the plot? Certainly not the TV ads for the flick, which all but ignore the film’s exposition in favor of scenes of Rock and Hopkins yukking it up on the streets.

It makes sense that the ad campaign downplays the plot; one part of the story involves a terrorist scheme, which explains why the film, originally scheduled for last fall, is only coming out now. But Rock fans will still support him in full force — plus, Anthony Hopkins in a buddy comedy isn’t something we’ll likely see anytime soon. So expect a solid $22 million debut for ”Bad Company,” good enough for first place.

That’ll push ”Sum of All Fears” back to No. 2. After its nice opening, a 40 percent drop to about $19 million seems in order. Still, that tally should out-gross the debut of the week’s other new wide release, ”Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood,” the multigenerational drama starring Sandra Bullock, Ashley Judd, Ellen Burstyn, and Maggie Smith. This one practically screams ”chick flick,” and since the female audience hasn’t had a film geared towards them in a few weeks, dateless women everywhere will show up to the tune of $14 million.

Rounding out the top five will be the summer’s two biggest hits so far. ”Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones” stands to plummet another 45 percent to $12 million, while ”Spider-Man” should decline 40 percent to about $9 million. Hey, all those dateless guys need places to go too!

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