Imagine, if you will, that the first few lines of this box office preview are being spoken by that creepy deep-voiced movie-trailer narrator guy. Cool? So here goes… ”In a world, where the box office is overcrowded with strong holdovers and five major new releases, where the doldrums of August are fast approaching, where summer-movie apathy may just be starting to infect audiences, only one man will be able to rise to the top and be declared the true winner, the weekend’s No. 1 — Jason Bourne.” Okay, you can stop pretending to hear voices now. But please do read on about how The Bourne Ultimatum, the third installment in Matt Damon’s superspy series, is set to blow away the competition.
THE (LIKELY) TOP FIVE
The Bourne Ultimatum
Universal · PG-13 · 3,660 theaters · NEW
I took an informal poll on EW.com’s PopWatch blog yesterday, asking readers to pick their favorite superspy, James Bond or Jason Bourne. So many props were given to both guys that it’s hard to determine a winner. Still, all the comments (well, except for the one that voted for that other J.B., Jack Bauer, even though he wasn’t even nominated, duh!) confirm what we already know: There’s a ton of love out there for Robert Ludlum’s badass amnesiac. Certainly, enough for this film to debut at least as well as 2002’s The Bourne Identity ($27.1 mil) and 2004’s The Bourne Supremacy ($52.5 mil) — not to mention last year’s James Bond installment, Casino Royale ($40.8 mi). In fact, it’ll do better than all of them, thanks to a hefty screen count, a dearth of big action-flick rivals, rave reviews (check out that 84 out of 100 score on Metacritic.com), and the as-yet-incurable Summer-Blockbuster-of-the-Week Syndrome. (Though I hear Pfizer is working on a drug.)
Weekend prediction: $59 million
The Simpsons Movie
Fox · PG-13 · 3,926 theaters · 2nd weekend
Don’t know about you, but my head’s still spinning from Homer’s homer at the box office last weekend. I mean, it was a grand slam. I mean, if it were possible to get five runs on a grand slam, The Simpsons Movie did that. Besides bowing with $74 mil (some $20 mil above what most pundits had predicted), the animated flick will go into this weekend having already banked over $100 mil domestically and more than $115 mil overseas. Even with a 55 percent drop this time around, one thing’s for sure: That Spider-Pig is some miracle worker.
Weekend prediction: $33 million
Paramount · PG-13 · 2,607 theaters · NEW
Saturday Night Live‘s Andy Samberg stars as a goofy daredevil in this spazzy comedy. If the movie becomes as much of a phenomenon as Samberg’s famed parodies Lazy Sunday and D— in a Box, then we might just have the next Will Ferrell on our hands here. If not, maybe just the next Jimmy Fallon.
Weekend prediction: $13 million
Walt Disney · PG · 3,013 theaters · NEW
Am I the only one who thought that the trailer for this semi-live-action adaptation of the classic kiddie cartoon looked like one of those Please Silence Your Cell Phone spoofs that they always run before movies? I mean, adults who look at ads for this movie (and see human stars Jason Lee and Peter Dinklage) have gotta think it’s totally ridiculous. But we all know that grownups aren’t the pivotal demographic here.
Weekend prediction: $12 million
New Line · PG · 3,115 theaters · 3rd weekend
I’m not sure if those just-announced ”Sing-A-Long” screenings will add much to Hairspray‘s third-frame box office total, but I can tell you this: The musical adaptation doesn’t really need the help. After its better-than-expected opening two weeks ago, the film dropped just 42 percent last weekend, and during this week it has been playing stronger than both I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. All three should compete closely again, but I see Hairspray finally trumping Chuck and Harry this time.
Weekend prediction: $10 million
THE OTHER NEW MOVIES
Lionsgate · PG · 1,509 theaters · NEW
Yes, it’s a live-action version of the super-popular line of dolls by the same name. No, I had never heard of Bratz before I wrote that last sentence. Yes, that may mean I’m an idiot. No, I’m not embarrassed by that.
Weekend prediction: $7 million
Picturehouse · R · 542 theaters · NEW
There was a time when a Jennifer Lopez premiere would have been a big deal. When a movie featuring her and her real-life lover would have made headlines. When her performance as Puchi Perez, the wife of the late salsa singer Héctor Lavoe (Marc Anthony), in the true story of their tumultuous relationship, would have generated Oscar buzz. But not anymore.
Weekend prediction: $3 million