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'Beverly Hills Chihuahua': Weekend's top dog?

Opening in considerably more theaters than the other new (mostly smaller) releases, this kid-friendly lost-dog adventure looks feisty enough to leave its competition fighting over B.O. scraps

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Joe Lederer

Michael Cera may have puppy-dog eyes in Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, but it’s the real pups in Beverly Hills Chihuahua that will have moviegoers barking up the box office tree this weekend. The PG-rated live-action Disney flick is bowing in more theaters than any of the five other new releases opening this frame. With such a crowded slate, these smaller pictures — Flash of Genius, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, Blindness, and An American Carol — are all likely to cross each other out. Now you may be of the mind that Hollywood’s really gone to the dogs, but play along anyway. The EW.com Fall Box Office Challenge is calling your name.

THE (LIKELY) TOP FIVE

Beverly Hills Chihuahua
Walt Disney · PG · 3,215 · NEW
Yes, they are talking dogs. Yes, Jamie Lee Curtis and Piper Perabo are the film’s biggest stars. No matter. Just say the word Chihuahua and children burst into fits of laughter. Throw in the fact that nothing’s made a splash in the kid-flick world since July’s Wall-E, and parents are going to be lining up to take little Jimmy to this one this weekend.
Weekend prediction: $30 million

Eagle Eye
Dreamworks/Paramount · PG-13 ? 3,516 · 2nd weekend
Shia LaBeouf and surveillance have proved a powerful combination as Eagle Eye has showed some staying power through the week. It should withstand the competition this frame pretty effectively, though Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist will make a real go at it. Look for a 45 percent drop this weekend.
Weekend prediction: $16 million

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Columbia · PG-13 · 2,421 · NEW
This teen romance has hipster cred with its offbeat New York locales and a super-cool soundtrack. Add in the likability factor of the anti-heartthrob Michael Cera and the up-and-comer Kat Dennings, and this movie has teen hit written all over it. If it will get there this weekend remains to be seen, but it’s likely this movie from director Peter Sollett (Raising Victor Vargas) will stick around for weeks to come.
Weekend prediction: $16 million

Nights in Rodanthe
Warner Bros. · PG-13 · 2,702 · 2nd weekend
Now if you’re not hip and cool and into New York nightlife, then Nights in Rodanthe, the anti-Nick and Norah movie, is for you. The Diane LaneRichard Gere love story should drop around 50 percent its second weekend and that would be considered a success since the film’s reviews have been so weak.
Weekend prediction: $6.5 million

Flash of Genius
Universal · PG-13 · 1,098 · NEW
Producer Marc Abraham’s directorial debut centers on a guy whose claim to fame is inventing the intermittent windshield wiper, and his legacy was fighting the corporate greed that stole his invention from him. It’s an unusual choice to say the least. Luckily, the movie has received some kind reviews. With a likable cast (Greg Kinnear and Lauren Graham), the movie should pull in some money, though the low single-digits is probably as good as it will get.
Weekend prediction: $5 million