‘Skulls,’ ‘Road’ top pix eyeing weekend B.O. crown

Aud-splitting pics may leave 'Erin' sitting pretty

Julia Roberts could hit a trifecta this weekend with “Erin Brockovich” looking to rack up its third straight victory at the nation’s box office.

Universal’s legal drama pushed its 20-day cume to $60.5 million with an additional $4.7 million during the Monday-Wednesday period. Considering its strong weekday numbers and possible audience fragmentation from four wide debuts, “Erin” has a decent shot at another weekend title.

Opening today are Disney’s “High Fidelity,” New Line’s “Price of Glory,” DreamWorks’ toon “The Road to El Dorado” and U’s “Skulls,” with the latter two being given large enough launches to snag the top spot away from “Erin.”

“El Dorado,” opening at 3,211 runs, should tap into family audiences while “Skulls,” debuting at 2,411 sites, is shaping up as a candidate to join “Final Destination” and “Romeo Must Die” on the list of recent teen-skewing thrillers making a sizable opening splash. “High Fidelity” opens at 1,183 screens while “Price of Glory” rolls out at about 800.

Strong competition

“Romeo Must Die,” last weekend’s No. 2, should also continue to pull in significant numbers for Warner over the weekend after taking in $2.8 million during Monday-Wednesday to move its 12-day total to $28.4 million.

“American Beauty,” winner of five Academy Awards on Sunday, should retain some of its post-Oscar bounce following respectable grosses of $2.1 million during Monday-Wednesday. The dark comedy, which has $110.6 million overall after 197 days, will expand by about 350 screens to 2,000 screens today.

Despite the lack of any weekend victories during its run, “Beauty” has far exceeded initial commercial expectations, and is on track to pick up another $15 million-$20 million or so by the end of its U.S. theatrical run.

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