Box Office Preview

Rowling Along

Harry will defend his No. 1 position. Not even Vin Diesel's dark art can muscle ''Azkaban'' from the top spot

Alan Rickman, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban | 'HARRY' TALE Potter and Co. should conjure up another win at the box office
'HARRY' TALE Potter and Co. should conjure up another win at the box office

Will Vin Diesel dethrone Harry Potter from the top of the box office chart this weekend? Signs point to...probably not.

After opening last weekend with a fantastic $93.7 million, ''Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban'' should successfully fend off its three new competitors this weekend. Still, a 50 percent drop to $47 million seems likely for the third Potter film.

Meanwhile, Vin Diesel offers a companion piece to his cult hit ''Pitch Black'' with ''The Chronicles of Riddick,'' a mythology-filled action film. Young male fans will gladly stow away their Dungeons & Dragons dice to head to the multiplexes for this one, while girls probably aren't counting down the days for this opening. ''Riddick'' should place second, however, with a debut in the $35 million range.

''Shrek 2'' will try to log one more week in the top three, slipping 50 percent to about $19 million, while Nicole Kidman provides a fairly strong adult draw with her comedic remake of ''The Stepford Wives,'' also starring Matthew Broderick, Glenn Close, and Bette Midler. Expect a $14 million debut followed by legs that are a bit longer than those of most summer films.

''The Day After Tomorrow'' could round out the top five, falling another 55 percent to $13 million. Battling it for fifth place will be the live-action-meets-CGI film version of the long-running comic strip ''Garfield,'' featuring Jennifer Love Hewitt and the voice of Bill Murray as the lovable fat cat. But with unfunny commercials and lackluster early reviews, its opening might be as low as $9 million, not something to purr about.

Originally posted Jun 10, 2004