J. Lo will battle a tough box office ''Nemesis.'' Don't be surprised if those never-say-die Trekkies outperform America's favorite movie and music star

By Dave Karger
December 13, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST

It’s the geeks vs. the chicks at the box office this weekend. Have I offended anyone yet?

With the competing debuts of ”Star Trek: Nemesis” and ”Maid in Manhattan,” guys and gals are sure to fight over what to see at the multiplex. The question is: Who’ll win the argument?

Based on past history, we give the geeks the edge. The last ”Star Trek” film, ”Insurrection,” premiered with $22.1 million back in 1998. And though ”Nemesis” hasn’t exactly been racking up the buzz, there’s one thing about those Trekkies: They’re loyal. ”Nemesis” should prosper with a $24 million opening.

That’ll leave J. Lo at No. 2 with ”Maid in Manhattan,” her ”Pretty Woman” meets ”Working Girl” romance costarring Ralph Fiennes. Lopez’s last flick, ”Enough,” opened with $17.2 million over the long Memorial Day weekend last summer. But ”Manhattan” features a sunnier tone and a more enticing premise (hotel maid and New York heir fall for each other), placing the film squarely into prime chick-flick territory. Thanks to the release of her new CD, Lopez has certainly been in the public eye lately, and an $18 million debut seems likely.

Third place could go to the new teen flick ”Drumline,” about a high schooler who wants to be a star marching band percussionist. Nickelodeon breakout Nick Cannon is sure to attract decent crowds to this one, which should pound its way to $12 million. Close behind could be Rob Schneider’s new comedy, ”The Hot Chick,” with about $10 million.

Finally, the James Bond entry ”Die Another Day” should round out the top five with another $7 million, bringing its 24-day total past $130 million. The last Bond flick, ”The World is Not Enough,” topped out at $126.9 million total. Thank you, Halle Berry.

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