''Analyze That'' will shrink the box office competition. Move over Bond and Potter -- the new team of Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal should rule the weekend
Robert De Niro, Analyze That
Credit: Analyze That: Phillip V. Caruso

The doctor is in. In theaters, that is. Three years after psychotherapist Billy Crystal softened mobster Robert De Niro in ”Analyze This,” the comic pair returns with ”Analyze That,” and should walk away with the No. 1 movie of the weekend.

In 1999, ”Analyze This” began De Niro’s comedic run that continued with the success of ”Meet the Parents” before taking a dive with the Eddie Murphy cop comedy ”Showtime.” ”Analyze This” premiered with $18.4 million on its way to a $106.8 million total gross. Audiences excited by the sequel’s knee-slapping trailer should gladly come back for a second session. Expect ”Analyze That” to shrink the competition with $22 million.

After duking it out for the top spot over Thanksgiving, British gents Harry Potter and James Bond will battle again for second place. Both ”Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” and ”Die Another Day” should slip about 45 percent to the $17 or $18 million range this weekend.

And the well-performing holiday sequel ”The Santa Clause 2,” which shockingly outperformed the new animated release ”Treasure Planet” last weekend, should hang in at No. 4 with $7 million.

Fifth place could go to ”Treasure Planet” or perhaps Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah cartoon ”Eight Crazy Nights.” But if those two plummet more than 55 percent (which is certainly possible), the new crime drama ”Empire,” starring John Leguizamo, Denise Richards, Fat Joe, and Treach, could sneak in with a $5 million debut. One thing’s for sure: George Clooney’s rear end (paraded in the commercial flop ”Solaris”) has seen its day in the sun.

Empire (2002 film)
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