‘Parent Trap’ opens strong

BV pic snares $2.5 mil; 'Ryan' on frontline

Buena Vista’s “The Parent Trap” got a jump on the crowded weekend ahead, snaring a family-sized $2.5 million on its Wednesday opening.

The PG-rated remake, which stars Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson, bowed in second place behind DreamWorks’ “Saving Private Ryan.”

The Spielberg-helmed battle pic racked up nearly $4.6 million Wednesday, and looks to finish its first week with about $50 million in ticket sales.

“Trap” opened in 2,103 theaters, increasing its run to 2,247 today as drive-ins and small-town bijoux come online.

While families predictably made up the majority of daytime and early evening audiences, anecdotal reports suggest middle-aged childless couples — perhaps nostalgic for the 1961 original — turned out for later shows.

Warner Bros.’ “The Negotiator” also bowed Wednesday, just squeaking into fifth place with a studio-reported $1.4 million.

The action thriller, which stars Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey, holed up in 2,310 locations. It expands to 2,436 sites today.

Lacking big name stars, Warner Bros. is counting on positive word of mouth to bring auds to the F. Gary Gray helmed pic.

“It’s a great movie with great actors,” said WB distribution prexy Barry Reardon. “That’s why we sneaked it last week and why we opened on Wednesday. Wednesday and Thursday will function as additional sneaks to help position us for the weekend.”

Wednesday auds consisted mainly of men and women over 25, according to exit polls.

In third place, 20th Century Fox’s “There’s Something About Mary” continued to show off its great legs, zipping up a little less than $2 million Wednesday. That’s just a hair shy of its midweek debut two weeks earlier.

Fourth place went to Sony’s “The Mask of Zorro,” which grossed just under $1.5 million.

The already crowded marketplace heats up even more today with the opening of two more entries: Universal’s “BASEketball” and 20th Century Fox’s “Ever After: A Cinderella Story.”