It might not be 90 degrees where you live, but summer has begun just the same. This weekend’s release of ”X2: X-Men United” officially signals the start of the blockbuster season, and it’ll be a biggie.
Three years ago, the first ”X-Men” debuted with $54.5 million, which amounted to an amazing 35 percent of its total $157.3 million gross. With the entire cast returning (including Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) — plus unanimous buzz that the sequel is better than the original AND has a much bigger theater count (3,700 sites as opposed to 3,000 for the first film) — ”X2” could very well become one of the top 10 openers of all time with a $70 million debut.
The only person with the guts to open against the X-Men is that lovable Disney Channel heroine Lizzie McGuire (played by Hilary Duff), who premieres her first film, ”The Lizzie McGuire Movie.” Duff has a huge fan base of tween girls, who probably couldn’t care less about ”X2.” So ”Lizzie” should benefit from the increased multiplex traffic and score a $17 million debut for the second spot.
Last week’s top two films will battle for No. 3. The John Cusack thriller ”Identity” will likely fall 40 percent from its $16.2 million debut to about $10 million, while Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson’s hit comedy ”Anger Management” will also land in the $10 million range, down 35 percent from last week.
Rounding out the top five, the family flick ”Holes” should slip 30 percent to about $9 million. If only those kids had Wolverine’s claws…