April 25, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

Enjoy it while it lasts, Adam Sandler. Despite competition from four new wide releases, Sandler and Jack Nicholson’s ”Anger Management” should retain the box office crown for the third straight weekend — and for the last time, since the summer season starts in earnest next weekend with the release of ”X2: X-Men United.”

”Management” has managed to buck the trend of Sandler comedies seeing their business drop off steeply after the first weekend. Another modest drop of about a third would still see the movie take in nearly $16 million this weekend. That’s better than its strongest competitor, John Cusack’s murder mystery ”Identity,” is likely to fare. This week’s only chiller will open on 2,700 screens. Its trim 87-minute running time should allow for extra screenings, but its R-rating and lukewarm star power could hold grosses to $14 million.

Kids really dug ”Holes” last weekend; strong word-of-mouth and the absence of other family fare should result in only a small dropoff (say, 25 percent) for a $12 million take — and a third-place finish. Coming in fourth should be ”The Real Cancun,” opening on a moderate 2,200 screens. Last year’s ”Jackass: The Movie” proved that reality/exploitation can work on the big screen, and ”Cancun”’s softcore spring-break antics should as well. Since the movie cost about the price of a case of tequila to make, a $9 million opening would be a spectacular return.

Jamie Kennedy’s rap spoof ”Malibu’s Most Wanted” is targeting the same youthful, mostly male audience as ”Anger” and ”Cancun,” but it opened well last weekend, so a 40 percent decline is in order, with a fifth-place finish at just over $7 million. This weekend’s two other new wide releases, the Ed Burns-Dustin Hoffman grifter caper ”Confidence” and the Douglas family’s dramedy ”It Runs in the Family,” are both opening on fewer than 1,900 screens and will appeal primarily to older audiences more likely to check out ”Identity.” Expect them both to earn around $5 million, which is in line with the Douglas family’s usual asking price to show off their home movies.

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