Travolta will trump Diesel at the box office. ''Be Cool'' should outearn the family-friendly ''Pacifier'' this weekend

By Dave Karger
March 04, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

It’s the battle of the cool dudes at the box office this weekend, as John Travolta’s Be Cool takes on Vin Diesel’s The Pacifier. Since Diesel’s entry doesn’t have the letters XXX in the title, Travolta should emerge victorious.

Be Cool, the sequel to 1995’s Get Shorty, reunites Travolta with costar Danny DeVito and boasts the addition of Uma Thurman, Harvey Keitel, Vince Vaughn, The Rock, Cedric the Entertainer, and OutKast star Andre 3000. The eclectic cast will help the comedy appeal to audiences of all ages and races and should result in a debut of about $22 million.

With The Pacifier, meanwhile, action hero Diesel tries the comedy thing for the first time, playing a Navy SEAL who serves as a babysitter (don’t ask). Diesel has had monster openings before, but it remains to be seen whether his young male fan base will support a PG-rated family comedy. Still, the film should pacify $17 million worth of moviegoers.

Last week’s top two films, Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Hitch, should each slip to $12 million, while last weekend’s big Oscar winner, Million Dollar Baby, will see the traditional ”bump” as it adds about 200 theaters. A $9 million weekend would push its total near a knockout $80 million.