Box Office Preview

Ben There

Spend V-Day with a blind superhero or Kate Hudson? Ben Affleck's ''Daredevil'' will battle ''How to Lose a Guy'' for lovers' hearts -- and wallets

Ben Affleck, Daredevil | ROSES ARE RED Violets are blue, millions will see Affleck's new movie, but will you?
ROSES ARE RED Violets are blue, millions will see Affleck's new movie, but will you?

It's Valentine's Day weekend. Romance is in the air, roses are being bought in bulk, and lovebirds are looking forward to a cuddly night at the movies. In other words, it's the perfect time for a dark thriller about a blind superhero and his kung fu fighting girlfriend.

Okay, so ''Daredevil'' doesn't seem like the most Valentine-esque movie of the year. But thanks to an ultra-wide opening (3,400 theaters) and an extra-long Presidents' Day weekend, the Ben Affleck flick should score huge numbers at the box office. The record for February openings is held by ''Hannibal'' with $58 million. ''Daredevil'' may not top that figure, but thanks to the combined star power of Affleck, Jennifer Garner, and Colin Farrell, it should rack up about $45 million over the long weekend.

Moviegoers looking for a more traditional Valentine's Day scene will seek out last week's top film, ''How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,'' starring Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey. After premiering last weekend with $23.8 million, ''How to Lose'' should win second place with another $22 million, followed by the Jackie Chan/Owen Wilson comedy ''Shanghai Knights'' with about $16 million.

Meanwhile, ''Chicago'' should see a nice boost from its 13 Oscar nominations. The acclaimed musical will dance its way to another $12 million or so over the long weekend. That means it could outperform the week's other new entry, the Disney sequel ''The Jungle Book 2,'' which hits 2,600 theaters. ''Jungle 2'' not have huge buzz, but families need Valentine's movies, too. A $12 million opening may only be good enough for fifth place. It certainly is a jungle out there.

Originally posted Feb 13, 2003
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