The X-Files tried — and failed miserably — in its attempt to unseat The Dark Knight last weekend. This frame will see an equally aged franchise The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor try to overthrow what’s turning into the most successful superhero movie of all time. And funny enough, it should succeed. Who knew Brendan Fraser and Jet Li had that kind of power?
Not even a critical drubbing will prevent this actioner from luring in the pre-teen set that may actually be able to see this movie without wetting their pants unlike the very Dark Knight. And while the Christian Bale/Heath Ledger combo will come very close to hitting the $400 million mark this weekend, it won’t be from the top spot on the box office chart. Read on for my predictions, then click over to EW.com’s Summer Box Office Challenge to register your picks.
THE (LIKELY) TOP FIVE
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
Universal Pictures · PG-13 · 3,759 theatres · NEW
It’s been seven years since Brendan Fraser last took on some unpleasant corpses, and while it’s not like there was any clamor for another installment, at least Dragon Emperor has been infused with new blood. There’s a new director (Rob Cohen), a new co-star (Maria Bello), a new villain (international superstar Jet Li), and a new newcomer (Aussie actor Luke Ford). While it’s highly unlikely that the third installment in this franchise will reach the heights of its predecessors (The Mummy Returns opened to $68 million on its way to $200 million), it actually should have a fair showing this frame.
Weekend prediction: $51 million
The Dark Knight
Warner Bros. · PG-13 · 4,266 theatres · 3rd week
Its tally after Tuesday stood at $334 million, just $2 million under Spider-Man 3‘s total domestic haul. Christopher Nolan‘s masterpiece will blow by that mark this weekend as it closes in on the $400 million mark.
Weekend prediction: $40 million
Sony · R · 3,094 theatres · 2nd week
The reviews weren’t kind but that didn’t stop Will Ferrell from pulling in close to $31 million for this R-rated comedy. (A huge improvement from his last outing, Semi-Pro, which opened to a dismal $15 million back in February.) Its second weekend should see a steep drop-off, close to 60 percent.
Weekend prediction: $12.5 million
Disney · PG-13 · 2,213 theatres · NEW
I don’t get this movie at all. The posters make it look like a Kevin Costner baseball movie, with an obvious splash of red to, what, appeal to the middle of the country? The ads showcase a precocious pre-teen who is all over getting her dad to vote. So what is this movie, a political movie for kids? Yet it’s rated PG-13 and I can’t imagine any kid over 13 wanting to see it. And the fading appeal of Costner isn’t likely to lure in a lot of adults. Someone tell me who is going to see this movie? That said, Disney has a remarkable gift for marketing even the schlockiest of schlock, so they must be finding an audience somewhere.
Weekend prediction: $10 million
Universal · PG-13 · 3,060 theatres · 3rd week
Critics just hated on this movie but that didn’t stop audiences from pouring into the theaters to see it. It dropped just 36 percent its sophomore session and has grossed a solid $62 million so far. I’d look for a larger drop this weekend, but it will still beat X-Files in the ranking. (Sad that no one cares about Scully and Mulder any longer.)
Weekend prediction: $8.5 million