Can ”The Passion of the Christ” make it three weeks in a row at the top of the box office chart? Mel Gibson’s directorial effort has already topped ”Signs” as his highest-grossing film ever, with more than $228 million in domestic receipts. Now it’s set to battle Johnny Depp’s new thriller ”Secret Window.”
Another drop in the 42 percent range for ”The Passion” would result in another $31 million, bringing its total past $260 million, meaning it’ll become one of the top 25 grossers of all time.
”Secret Window,” starring Depp as a writer accused of plagiarism, is based on a Stephen King story, which automatically brings a certain fan base to the theaters. Add that to Depp’s recently raised profile (thanks to the phenomenal success — including an Oscar nomination — of ”Pirates of the Caribbean”) and you have a potential hit on your hands. Still, ”Window” might have a hard time catching ”The Passion.” Even with a $24 million debut, it’ll have to settle for second place.
Meanwhile, last week’s runner-up, ”Starsky & Hutch,” is likely to fall 40 percent to $17 million, while two films will fight for fourth place. Viggo Mortensen’s equine thriller ”Hidalgo” should slip 45 percent to $10 million, while Frankie Muniz’s sequel ”Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London” should see a debut of $10 million as well.
Also opening nationwide is the latest David Mamet drama, ”Spartan,” starring Val Kilmer. But with a low theater count (850), its title may also describe its box office take.