Adam and Jack should set a box office record. Sandler and Nicholson won't get mad, they'll get even -- with a $45 million debut for ''Anger Management''

By Dave Karger
April 11, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
Anger Management: Sidney Baldwin

Say goodbye to the box office slump of 2003. After more than a month of lackluster ticket sales (down almost 25 percent from last year), the movie industry will finally see a huge debut thanks to the genius pairing of Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson in ”Anger Management.”

In the comedy, smartly rated PG-13, Sandler plays a mild-mannered office worker mistakenly ordered to undergo counseling. Nicholson, of course, plays the belligerent anger-management therapist. Admit it — you’re dying to see this movie.

You’re not alone. Audiences of all ages (and both genders) seem equally excited for this dynamic duo. And all rival studios have been scared away: No other wide releases will hit theaters this weekend. That’s just one of the reasons why the previous April box office record — ”The Scorpion King”’s $36.1 million — is toast. ”Anger Management” could score a $45 million debut.

The rest of the top five combined won’t come close to matching Sandler and Nicholson. Last week’s top film, the claustrophobic Colin Farrell thriller ”Phone Booth,” should drop 40 percent to second place with $9 million, while Amanda Bynes’ Cinderella story, ”What a Girl Wants,” may slip 30 percent to $8 million.

Meanwhile, Vin Diesel’s intense drama, ”A Man Apart,” is likely to place fourth with another $7 million. And fifth place could go to one of two comedies: ”Head of State” or ”Bringing Down the House,” which should earn $5 million each. Looks like Adam and Jack are going to dominate for a while — at least until May 2, when those X-Men return.