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A trio of A-listers battle for box office supremacy

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Hilary Swank, Aaron Eckhart, ...
Core: Rob McEwan

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.

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