Travolta, Rock, or Swank? Three very different A-listers battle for box office supremacy this weekend, and it could be a tight one.
The week's three new releases -- ''The Core,'' ''Basic,'' and ''Head of State'' -- are said to be tracking quite similarly to each other. But with its, um, core audience of young males, Hilary Swank's sci-fi adventure ''The Core'' could end up in the top slot. Though reviews won't be pretty, it could debut with $15 million.
Not far behind will likely be ''Basic,'' a military thriller that reunites ''Pulp Fiction'' stars John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson, and ''Head of State,'' a comedy featuring Chris Rock as a United States Presidential candidate. Both films should premiere in the $13 million-$14 million range.
This means that after three weeks in the top spot, Steve Martin and Queen Latifah's ''Bringing Down the House'' will finally be brought down to No. 4. A slip of 35 percent would translate to another $11 million weekend, pushing its total ever closer to the $100 million mark and on its way to becoming Martin's biggest hit ever (''Parenthood'' made $100 million).
Rounding out the top five will be either the Stephen King adaptation ''Dreamcatcher'' or possibly the newly crowned Best Picture winner, ''Chicago,'' both of which should gross $7 million or so. ''Chicago's'' total will then pass $140 million, and at this rate it should soon enter the 100 top-grossing films of all time. That's a lot of razzle-dazzle.