Box Office Preview

Walken and Talking

Weekend movies: It's jungle action vs. love Italian-style. The Rock's ''Rundown'' should excite men, while ''Under the Tuscan Sun'' will woo women

Dwayne ''The Rock'' Johnson, The Rundown | ROCK SOLID ''The Rundown'' should pull in the coveted teen-male demographic
ROCK SOLID ''The Rundown'' should pull in the coveted teen-male demographic

Yes, Mr. Rock, we can smell what you're cooking. And so can young guys across the country, who will certainly make the former wrestling star's new movie, ''The Rundown,'' No. 1 at the box office this weekend.

''The Rundown,'' costarring Seann William Scott, Rosario Dawson, and Christopher Walken, has the requisite fight sequences and big blow-up scenes. But it also seems to have something new for its genre: decent reviews (EW gives it a B grade, and Ebert & Roeper just about called for Oscar nominations on their show). In all, ''The Rundown,'' should, um, run down the competition with a $25 million debut.

Appealing to the exact opposite crowd, older women, is the screen adaptation of Frances Mayes' successful book ''Under the Tuscan Sun.'' Recent Oscar nominee Diane Lane (''Unfaithful'') plays Mayes in the film, which is a chick flick to the core (not that I'm complaining). Though women don't line up during opening weekends like teenage boys do, ''Sun'' should rise with about $12 million.

Last week's top film, the horror thriller ''Underworld,'' will likely fall 55 percent from its $21.8 million debut to about $10 million, while runner-up ''Secondhand Lions'' should slip 40 percent to $7 million. That would put it neck and neck with the weekend's final new release, the Ben Stiller/Drew Barrymore comedy ''Duplex.''

With ''The Rundown'' and ''Under the Tuscan Sun'' stealing two whole demographics, ''Duplex'' will get the sloppy thirds and should see an opening of about $7 million as a result. Which is about the cost of a New York City duplex, anyway.

Originally posted Sep 25, 2003
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