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Box Office Preview: 'Hannah Montana' takes on 'Fast & Furious'

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The annual box office Easter egg hunt is here, and this weekend’s combination of a holiday for many families, spring break for many kids, and several big movies for everyone should make the multiplex a particularly competitive place. Reigning champ Fast & Furious (pictured, top) has to be the favorite, but newcomer Hannah Montana: The Movie (pictured, bottom) could catch it at the finish line. Overall, grosses should be high, but which films will flourish and which could flop? Let’s find out.

1. Fast & Furious — $31 million
Vin Diesel’s car-smashing saga was a surprise sensation last weekend, opening to a stunning, record-breaking, jaw-dropping $71 mil. Even if it hits the brakes a bit, a drop in the neighborhood of 55 percent would still land F&F in the mid-$30 mil range, which should be enough to put it in the winner’s circle once again (and bring its gross to over $100 mil in 10 days).

2. Hannah Montana: The Movie — $28 million
Much has been written about how the Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert movie succeeded a year ago, when it opened to $31.1 mil in a relatively small number of 3-D theaters. Well, this flick — an actual Hannah Montana narrative feature — is a different beast, because it’s playing on many more screens (but ones where ticket prices are lower), and it doesn’t feature or come on the heels of a popular concert tour that many fans didn’t get to see. So I don’t think it’ll be as big, but, with lots of kids on vacation, it still should do really well — and could contend for a win. I mean, c’mon: What better way to celebrate Easter than with chocolate, games…and a Disney Channel adaptation?!

3. Monsters vs. Aliens — $20 million
With a healthy $110 mil-plus gross so far and no signs of serious slowing, the 3-D film is another movie that should benefit from this weekend’s spring break/holiday/antsy-kids-out-of-school perfect storm.

4. Observe and Report — $17 million
As of right now, Paul Blart: Mall Cop is the biggest movie of 2009, with a whopping $143.2 mil domestic tally. So this mall-cop film, featuring the popular Seth Rogen, should also be a blockbuster, right? Maybe. Certainly, there’s a lot of good will for the, uh, mall-cop genre right now, and Rogen is a rising star. But the film’s R rating and decidedly darker tone will likely dampen revenues, keeping its debut number around the $17.8 mil that the R-rated funny flick I Love You, Man opened with a few weeks ago.

5. Dragonball: Evolution — $6 million
The weekend’s last big release is based on a popular Japanese manga universe, and it opens here after already earning more than $20 mil overseas. Which is fortunate for Fox and all the folks behind it, because this niche release is going to struggle to survive in 2,181 theaters in such a crowded marketplace.

So what are your picks?

More Box Office News:
Fast & Furious shatters records with $72.5 mil weekend
Monsters vs. Aliens opens at No. 1 with $58.2 mil
Knowing cruises to weekend victory
Race to Witch Mountain casts a spell at No. 1
EW.com’s Box Office Chart

addCredit(“Fast & Furious: Jaime Trueblood; Hannah Montana: Kerry Hayes”)