''Two Towers'' should top $260 million this weekend. Expect ''Lord of the Rings'' part 2 to keep its lead over both Leo DiCaprio films

By Dave Karger
December 31, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST
The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers: Pierre Vinet

With no super-wide releases hitting theaters, the first box-office weekend of 2003 will look a lot like the last one of 2002.

After earning more than $230 million in its first 15 days, ”The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers” will continue its climb up the all-time top grossers list. (It’s just cracked the top 30.) Look for ”Towers” to slip 40 percent from last weekend’s $48.9 million to about $29 million for the No. 1 spot this weekend.

Steven Spielberg’s ”Catch Me If You Can” will trail behind. A 30 percent slide to $20 million this weekend will bring the total of the caper starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks to more than $90 million. And the Sandra Bullock/Hugh Grant romantic comedy should score another week at No. 3 with $9 million.

Three films will battle for the two remaining slots in the top five. Both ”Gangs of New York” (also starring DiCaprio, along with Daniel Day-Lewis and Cameron Diaz) and Jennifer Lopez’s ”Maid in Manhattan” stand to fall to about $8 million. And the critically-acclaimed Jack Nicholson dark comedy ”About Schmidt,” which expands to about 700 theaters this weekend, could also gross $8 million. We’ll see if all that Oscar buzz will translate into big bucks.