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Box Office Preview: 'Watchmen' will be No. 1, but how much will it make?

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Watchmen02_l

Watchmen02_l

Watchmen opens this weekend, in case you haven’t heard. Word of the comic-based film’s long-awaited debut did get out around Hollywood, apparently: The competition is completely steering clear. So, as the only big new release, Zack Snyder’s anticipated adaptation of Alan Moore’s geek bible certainly will be No. 1. But just how well will it do? Read on. Oh, and did I mention that it’s long-awaited and anticipated? Just making sure.

1. Watchmen — $75 million
I still vividly remember the shockwaves that rumbled through Tinseltown when Snyder’s last R-rated graphic-novel techy epic, 300, opened to a huge $70.9 mil on this weekend two years ago. (The ground shook so intensely that I felt tremors in Las Vegas, where I was that weekend.) That was huge. And this movie, with a similar pedigree, a similar fan base, a similar release pattern in more than 3,000 venues, including several expensive-ticket IMAX locations, should be pretty damn big, too. But will it be bigger than 300? Marginally, yes, I think. Watchmen could be hurt by its nearly three-hour running time, but it’s based on a monumental book about which excitement has been building for two decades. What’s more, it’s opening in a few hundred more theaters than 300 did, and ticket prices have gone up in the years since the Spahhhhrtahhhns stormed the box office. Keeping track of its returns will be fun, indeed.

2. Slumdog Millionaire — $10 million
The Oscar winner got a boost after its Best Picture win and has now grossed more than $200 mil worldwide.

3. Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail — $9 million
In less than two weeks, Tyler Perry’s latest movie has become his top domestic grosser to date, with nearly $70 mil in the bank.

4. Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience — $8 million
Eh, don’t feel so bad for the boys. They may not have made Miley-sized millions last weekend, but their big-screen extravaganza averaged almost $10,000 per theater — and it should hang on strong this time around.

5. Taken — $7 million
With little direct boy-baiting competition (except, maybe, Friday the 13th, which was only viable for one day, really), Liam Neeson’s action flick has cruised to a $110 mil take at the box office during the past month. Which is to say: Watchmen‘s debut could finally hurt a bit.

More Box Office News:
‘Madea’ tops ‘Jonas Brothers’ for a second box office win
‘Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail’ wins big at the box office
Friday the 13th’ slashes records
EW.com’s Box Office Chart
He’s Just Not That Into You’ gets lots of love

addCredit(“Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Comics”)

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