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A new 'tween comedy should top the box office

A new ‘tween comedy should top the box office — Frankie Muniz and Hilary Duff will show their elders how to laugh all the way to the bank

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Hilary Duff, Frankie Muniz, ...
Agent Cody Banks: Diyah Pera

Comedians of different generations will battle for laughs and dollars at the box office this weekend, as Frankie Muniz’s ”Agent Cody Banks” goes up against Steve Martin’s ”Bringing Down the House.”

”Malcolm in the Middle”’s Muniz plays a teenage CIA agent. Luckily, he’s joined by ”Lizzie McGuire” star Hilary Duff, whose Disney ‘tween fanbase should come out to the film in full force. Just as ”Spy Kids” debuted a few years back with $26 million, Muniz should laugh all the way to the ”Banks” with about $21 million for the No. 1 spot.

That would put him just ahead of Steve Martin and Queen Latifah’s hit ”Bringing Down the House,” which premiered last weekend with $31.1 million. A 35 percent drop would mean another $20 million for the comedy.

For those looking for something a bit more serious, ”The Hunted” will be just the ticket. The action thriller stars Tommy Lee Jones as an FBI agent chasing down an assassin, played by Benicio Del Toro. But two Oscar winners can’t help its audience-limiting R rating, so the film should hunt down the third slot with about $15 million.

Another action drama, Bruce Willis’ returning ”Tears of the Sun,” should slip about 40 percent from its $17.1 million debut to $10 million for fourth place.

And rounding out the top five will be either Will Ferrell’s ”Old School,” in its fourth weekend, or the new rodent-filled horror remake ”Willard,” starring Crispin Glover. Both films should earn $6 million for the weekend. This despite ”Willard”’s 1,800-theater release. Rats!