With Halloween on a Friday and "Scary Movie 3" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" already in theaters, Hollywood is shying away from a big release weekend.
Only two movies are opening nationwide — both after already hitting select cities — and one of those, "Brother Bear," is waiting until Saturday (November 1).
The animated Disney movie features Joaquin Phoenix supplying the voice for a Native American who seeks revenge on the bear who killed his brother and is transformed by the spirits of the forest into, of course, a bear.
Competing against the trick-or-treaters on Friday (October 31) is "In the Cut," featuring Meg Ryan in the steamy role of a New York professor who has an affair with a police detective, played by Mark Ruffalo ("You Can Count on Me"), who is investigating a nearby murder. Kevin Bacon and Jennifer Jason Leigh co-star in the erotic thriller, which Jane Campion ("The Piano") directed and adapted.
Nicole Kidman, who backed out of "In the Cut" to handle her divorce from Tom Cruise, stars in one of the major films opening in limited release over the weekend, "The Human Stain." In the adaptation of the award-winning Philip Roth novel, Kidman plays a janitor who has an affair with a distinguished professor, portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, whose professional life is shattered by allegations of racism. Ed Harris plays Kidman's husband, while Gary Sinise portrays a neighbor who helps Hopkins' character deal with a lie he has been living for 50 years.
Also opening in select cities is the director's cut of Ridley Scott's 1979 sci-fi classic, "Alien," and "Shattered Glass," a drama based on the true story of The New Republic associate editor Stephen Glass, who was fired for fabricating stories in the 1990s. Hayden Christensen, best known for portraying Anakin Skywalker in the last two "Star Wars" movies, handles the title role, while Rosario Dawson and Chloe Sevigny play supporting characters.
Several other smaller films are opening in limited release, including "Die Mommy Die" with a cross-dressing Charles Busch (who won a Sundance Special Jury Prize for his acting) as a washed-up pop singer who kills her husband to be with her young lover (Jason Priestley). Natasha Lyonne plays the daughter out for revenge.
Other movies hitting a small number of theaters are the juvenile justice system documentary "Girlhood," the mob comedy "Mail Order Bride," the horror thriller "Suspended Animation" and the crime comedy "Dirt."