The black suits have arrived. Five years after ”Men in Black” premiered over the Fourth of July weekend and became one of the top movie openings of all time ($84 million), Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones return with what could be one of this summer’s biggest crowd-pleasers, ”Men in Black II.”
The last time Smith had a July 4 debut, it was the underperforming ”Wild Wild West,” which managed only a $36.4 million four-day start. But featuring the same lead characters and supporting players (like Frank the pug and the Worm Guys) that made the original a $250 million grosser in the U.S. alone, ”MIBII” should have no problem opening in the $100 million range.
Second place should go to last week’s No. 1, the Adam Sandler comedy ”Mr. Deeds.” While ”Deeds” debuted with a strong $37.2 million, more than double ”Little Nicky’s” distastrous take, the comedy did slip from Friday to Saturday, which is not a sign of strong legs to come. ”Deeds” will likely fall to $30 million over the long weekend.
One movie that has the guts to open opposite ”MIBII” is ”Like Mike,” the basketball comedy starring 15-year-old rapper Bow Wow (he recently dropped the Lil’ from his name). Apparently Twentieth Century Fox was so pleased with test screenings for the flick, about a youngster who finds some magic sneakers, that they pushed its release date up from July 12 to July 3. Will the move pay off? Probably. With moviegoers flocking to theaters this weekend, ”Mike” could earn about $25 million for the third spot.
Meanwhile, ”Minority Report” and ”Lilo & Stitch,” which have been neck-and-neck for two weeks now, will battle it out yet again for No. 4. Expect each to drop to about $20 million.
And the last new entry of the week, ”The Powerpuff Girls Movie,” probably won’t have enough muscle to fight its way into the top five with its $15 million take. Perhaps the girls will need an extra dose of Chemical X to make it through the weekend.