''2 Fast 2 Furious'' will be 2 popular not 2 make it 2 the top of the box office chart this weekend. The sequel to the surprise smash of summer 2001 hits theaters without costars Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez but with an avalanche of hype and hot replacement cast members Tyrese and Eva Mendes.
Two years ago, the first ''Fast and the Furious'' shocked all of Hollywood by debuting with $40 million. Teenagers everywhere have been waiting for the sequel. As a result, ''2 Fast'' should speed by its predecessor and premiere with around $60 million.
Last week's No. 1 film, ''Finding Nemo,'' will capitalize on exceptionally strong word-of-mouth and see a smaller-than-average 35 percent drop from its $70.3 million opening. A second-weekend gross of $46 million would bring the Pixar/Disney film past $140 million after 10 days. Jim Carrey's ''Bruce Almighty,'' meanwhile, should fall another 45 percent to $21 million this weekend, bringing its total near $170 million.
Rounding out the top five will be the Mark Wahlberg crime thriller ''The Italian Job'' with $12 million (down 40 percent from its $19.5 opening) and the fast-dropping sequel ''The Matrix Reloaded,'' which could fall another 55 percent to only $7 million in its fourth weekend. For action fans, ''The Matrix'' is simply 2 old.