Dave Karger
August 06, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Is the whole country ready to experience the dark side of Los Angeles? We’ll find out this weekend, as Michael Mann’s ”Collateral” reaches theaters.

”Collateral,” a taut thriller starring Tom Cruise as a hitman and Jamie Foxx as the cab driver forced to chauffeur him for the evening, has strong early reviews on its side, but also an R rating and a major marquee star playing a villain. So don’t expect a ”Mission: Impossible”-level opening weekend. Still, ”Collateral” will score the No. 1 spot at the box office, with around $30 million.

Last week’s top film, ”The Village,” will begin to see the effects of its negative reviews, falling 55 percent or so from its $50.7 million debut to $23 million. But it should place higher than the weekend’s other new wide release, the Brittany Murphy romantic comedy ”Little Black Book,” which, thanks to young female moviegoers, should bring in about $14 million.

Returning films ”The Bourne Supremacy” and ”The Manchurian Candidate” will round out the top five, with $12 million and $11 million, respectively. But with ”Alien vs. Predator” and ”The Princess Diaries 2” arriving next week, they shouldn’t get too comfortable there.

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