Gary Susman
April 18, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Battling for the souls (or at least the attention) of young men this weekend will be Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson, Chow Yun-Fat and Seann William Scott, and Jamie Kennedy. It shouldn’t be much of a contest. Though Sandler’s movies typically lack legs and fall by as much as 50 percent their second weekends, ”Anger Management”’s $42.2 million opening last week was strong enough that even a drop that size, to $21.1 million, should be enough to keep the movie at the top of the box office.

After all, what are the alternatives? There’s ”Bulletproof Monk,” which aims to blend the martial arts of Chow’s ”Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” with the goofy teen comedy that Scott (”American Pie,” ”Road Trip”) is known for. (Call the result, ”Dude, Where’s My Karma?”). Neither Chow nor Scott are household names, and their movie will be playing on 2,955 screens, about 600 fewer than ”Anger.” Still, it’s the only real choice for action this weekend, so it should see an opening of about $14 million and a second-place finish.

Kennedy’s ”Malibu’s Most Wanted,” inspired by a white wannabe rapper character from Kennedy’s WB series ”The Jamie Kennedy Experiment,” should have cultish appeal at best. It’s the third hip-hop culture-clash comedy in recent weeks (after ”Bringing Down the House” and ”Head of State”), so young guys looking for stoopid laughs will probably stick with Sandler or Scott. Opening in about 2,500 theaters, it should take in around $9 million.

That probably won’t be enough to finish third, however. That slot will go to ”Holes,” the Disney action-comedy for kids, based on a popular children’s book about rebellious kids at summer camp. Brand recognition and the dearth of alternative family fare should draw kids, while grownups won’t mind watching Sigourney Weaver as the camp director. It’s opening on 2,331 screens, and ticket-buying families should dig ”Holes” to the tune of about $11 million.

”Chasing Papi” could take fifth place. An all-Latino cast (a draw for an underserved movie market) of attractive-looking performers could result in a take north of $4 million. It’s playing on only 583 screens, but just ask Nia Vardalos how well ethnic-themed romantic comedies can do.

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