Box Office Preview

Can-'Doo'

''Scooby'' sequel will top the box office -- ''Dawn of the Dead'' and ''The Passion'' will hang tight

Matthew Lillard, Freddie Prinze Jr., ... | CAN 'DOO' The gang will make Scooby snacks out of the competition
CAN 'DOO' The gang will make Scooby snacks out of the competition

Ruh-roh, you ''Dawn of the Dead'' zombies: With ''Scooby-Doo 2'' on its way, your days at No. 1 are numbered.

Opening two years after the successful first ''Scooby-Doo'' movie, ''Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed'' hits theaters this weekend, bringing back the CGI mutt along with stars Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. The first film premiered with a fantastic $54.2 million, but given the sequel's March release date and overall lack of buzz, don't expect an opening even close to that. Instead, ''Doo 2'' should debut with about $20 million, still enough to top the chart.

Last week's No. 1 film, ''Dawn of the Dead,'' will see a decline of about 45 percent to $15 million, while ''The Passion of the Christ'' could log one more week in the top three, slipping 40 percent to $12 million.

Three other films open nationwide, though only in about half the theaters as ''Scooby.'' Tom Hanks stars in the quirky comedy ''The Ladykillers,'' the latest from the Coen brothers. Hanks is always a draw, though this one (featuring Hanks looking and sounding pretty silly) will test his star power. A $10 million debut seems likely.

Then there's ''Jersey Girl.'' The (presumably) final professional collaboration between Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez should bring in some curious fans, but female interest is far outpacing that from guys on this one. Expect an opening in the $8 million range.

The final new release is ''Never Die Alone,'' featuring rap star DMX, who's also proven himself quite a capable actor. About $6 million worth of his fan base should come out for his latest. So he won't die alone.

Originally posted Mar 25, 2004
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