Okay, so we haven?t exactly been right on in predicting which movie would dethrone The Dark Knight these past few weeks. (In our defense, who would have thought the Christopher Nolan-directed blockbuster would have stayed in the No. 1 slot for four straight weeks — against competition from no less than Will Ferrell, the Mummy franchise, and the latest Judd Apatow-produced comedy?)
This week we’re pretty positive that Tropic Thunder will finally claim the honors, pushing The Dark Knight to the No. 3 slot but giving the Christian Bale–Heath Ledger starrer enough coin to become the second highest-grossing movie of all time, surpassing the $460 million total gross of 1977’s Star Wars. The other two new releases aren’t likely to make as much of a splash, though it will be interesting to see how high those diehard-Star Wars fans can push the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars this weekend.
Read on for my predictions, then click over to the EW.com’s Summer Box Office Challenge to register your picks.
THE (LIKELY) TOP FIVE
Dreamworks/Paramount · R · 3,319 theaters · New
Despite calls for a nationwide boycott from the Special Olympics and the American Association of People with Disabilities, the Ben Stiller-directed R-rated comedy that equally offends everyone has generated overwhelmingly positive reviews — and Wednesday grosses of $6.5 million. Just Wednesday and Thursday alone should give the war movie spoof $15 million in ticket sales on its way to a solid five-day total of $40 million. Maybe the curiosity factor surrounding Robert Downey Jr. in blackface, and a profane, hip-hop dancing Tom Cruise, is too much to resist.
Weekend prediction: $26 million
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Warner Bros. · PG · 3,452 theaters · New
This animated Star Wars spin-off comes from the George Lucas universe and serves as a setup for an upcoming Cartoon Network series. Young boys are all over this extended trailer for a whole new line of Star Wars merchandise and will be the primary drivers, along with those die-hard Star Wars geeks, for this poorly reviewed flick. It will be a close race between Clone Wars and Dark Knight for the No. 2 spot, but those eager boys may give Clone Wars the upper hand.
Weekend prediction: $18 million
The Dark Knight
Warner Bros. · PG-13 · 3,590 theaters · 5th week
On average, this juggernaut has been falling in the 40 percent range since its second week, with only repeaters and very late adopters now straggling into the theater.
Weekend prediction: $16 million
Sony · R · 3,072 theaters · 2nd week
Strong mid-week numbers bode well for the Seth Rogen–James Franco stoner comedy. A 45 percent drop-off seems likely.
Weekend prediction: $12.5 million
Fox · R · 2,664 theaters · New
Fox is clearly counting on Alexandre Aja’s remake of the Japanese horror film to give its end of summer a much needed boost, considering how poorly its earlier fare has performed. Mirrors has all the makings of a successful entry: remake of a Japanese horror film, mid-level star attached (Kiefer Sutherland), and a small, risk-free budget to boot. If it will outperform, though, is anyone’s guess; that could be tough considering how distracted young males will be.
Weekend prediction: $11 million