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''Star Wars'' will hold off challengers

”Star Wars” will hold off challengers. A jam-packed Memorial Day weekend schedule will boost the box office

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Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, ...
Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith: © & TM Lucasfilm, Ltd.

Last year, the Memorial Day holiday brought the biggest weekend in box office history, thanks to incredible performances by Shrek 2 and The Day After Tomorrow, which grossed a combined $180 million over four days. Can this year’s crop of movies top that? Quite possibly, since there are three huge films in theaters, not just two.

After its phenomenal debut last weekend, Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith will likely hold on to the top spot, grossing another $75 million over the long weekend and bringing its 12-day total to about $285 million.

But George Lucas has challengers. The always popular Adam Sandler teams with Chris Rock for the football remake The Longest Yard, while Rock lends his voice to the CGI family flick Madagascar, also featuring Jada Pinkett Smith, Ben Stiller, and David Schwimmer. Both new releases will have a tough time topping Star Wars, but they both should debut with a fantastic $55 million.

That leaves Monster-in-Law and Kicking & Screaming to complete the top five, with $10 million and $8 million, respectively. But this weekend will belong to the droids, running backs, and computer-animated critters.