Welcome to Springfield, box office fans! Yep, it’s The Simpsons‘ world these days — thanks to those marketing marvels at Fox, 7-11 stores nationwide have been turned into Kwik-E-Marts, JetBlue has been christened ”the official airline of Springfield,” and so on. Everywhere you turn, it seems, Homer is there. So it’s no wonder that America’s favorite family will easily take No. 1. But that’s not all; this also happens to be one of the most crowded weekends at the multiplex this summer. So there’s lots to read on about before you can take a break and have a beer. Mmm… beer.
THE (LIKELY) TOP FIVE
The Simpsons Movie
Fox · PG-13 · 3,922 theaters · NEW
Nearly two full decades after the cartoon series debuted on TV, a feature-film version has finally arrived. There’s no doubt that the anticipation has been building for ages, but you do have to wonder whether the show has the same kind of rabid following it once did: As my man Dan Snierson wrote in last week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, only about 8.8 million people watch The Simpsons now, compared with 27.2 mil when it debuted in 1989. That’s a huge drop, and one reason the movie won’t pull, say, $70 mil this weekend. Still, it does remain the weekend’s sure-thing winner, opening against little new competition, with huge buzz and a guaranteed big bank. And hey, even non-fans like me may check it out, too.
Weekend prediction: $49 million
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Warner Bros. · PG-13 · 4,005 theaters · 3rd weekend
How to explain HPatOotP‘s hefty 58 percent drop last weekend? Everybody was off reading the book! But now that they’re finished and we all know that Harry dies (kidding, people, kidding!), all the wannabe wizards out there will be heading back to the multiplex.
Weekend prediction: $17 million
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
Universal · PG-13 · 3,501 theaters · 2nd weekend
By Adam Sandler standards, the financial performance of this controversial comedy is a bit of a disappointment. Its sluggish $34.2 mil debut has been followed by so-so mid-week numbers, which have barely held it above HPatOotP and Hairspray. So I now pronounce that it’ll decline 53 percent this weekend.
Weekend prediction: $16 million
New Line · PG · 3,121 theaters · 2nd weekend
Still can’t get that ”Good Morning, Baltimore” ditty out of my head. It’s so frigging catchy! I mean, no wonder audiences are digging the movie so much (check out its surprisingly big $27.5 mil bow last weekend). That it’s skewing older and female should keep the musical from dropping too far in its second spin through cinemas.
Weekend prediction: $15 million
Paramount · PG-13 · 3,349 theaters · 4th weekend
In three-plus weeks, Michael Bay’s toy advertisement has morphed into a $270 mil-grossing blockbuster, with the $300 mil mark clearly in its sights.
Weekend prediction: $11 million
THE OTHER NEW RELEASES
Warner Bros. · PG · 2,425 theaters · NEW
This remake of the 2002 German film Mostly Martha stars Catherine Zeta-Jones as a top New York chef, Abigail Breslin as her precocious niece, and Aaron Eckhart as the hunk down the kitchen counter. (For EW.com’s report from the film’s set, click here.) It sounds like a sweet dish, sure, but I dunno — a dash of star power, a touch of comedy, a pinch of romance, and a moderate theater count certainly isn’t the recipe for a blockbuster in this day and age.
Weekend prediction: $8 million
I Know Who Killed Me
TriStar · R · 1,320 theaters · NEW
Honestly, this Lindsay Lohan vehicle looked like a tough sell even before the star landed in trouble, yet again, the other night. Besides the fact that LiLo’s box office returns have been getting worse and worse (see: Georgia Rule‘s $6.8 mil bow and $18.9 mil total earlier this summer), IKWKM is a horror movie involving rape and torture coming out at a time when such fare is getting murdered at the box office. So to say that her arrest hurts its chances would imply that I thought it had any in the first place!
Weekend prediction: $6 million
Who’s Your Caddy?
MGM · PG-13 · 1,019 theaters · NEW
The Weinstein Company, which produced this under-publicized country-club comedy, would really like to know. They’d also like you to hop aboard the golf cart for this film, which features OutKast’s Big Boi. You gonna take them up on the offer? Didn’t think so.
Weekend prediction: $2 million