At midnight tonight Hollywood declares the start of the Summer moviegoing season with the bow of X-Men Origins: Wolverine opening on an enormous 4,000+ theaters. How big it will bow is the question of the day with many wondering if the pirated leak of the film last month will have any negative impact on its overall box office. Here’s the top five as I see it:
1. X-Men Origins: Wolverine — $85 million
Early reviews haven’t been kind — but who cares! This is summertime. This is good, clean, popcorn entertainment with a hunky Hugh Jackman and some cool special effects. Plus, the economy’s in the toilet, pigs are infecting us with the flu, and Pakistan’s got nuclear arms. I can’t think of a better time for a Wolfman with shiny blades to entertain us. Whether or not the film can match Iron Man‘s incredible $98.6 million box office opening last year at this time remains to be seen, but it’s highly unlikely that the leaked copy will truly hamper the film’s grossing potential.
2. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past — $15 million
This formulaic romantic comedy starring Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner is the traditional “counter-programming” option that Hollywood doles out to anybody not interested in super heroes and special effects. The critics have skewered this film, but tracking still suggests the appeal of the McConaughey and Garner will get it opened in the teens. I’d rather stay home and watch some vintage McConaughey in Dazed and Confused but perhaps sappy romance is what audiences are looking for today.
3. Obsessed — $13 million
Beyonce shocked box office watchers with the $28.6 million opening for her girl-on-girl catfight with Ali Larter. Its second weekend is likely to drop 60 percent like most surprise hits that have come before it. But that would still put the film at $13 million, which is quite a feat for a movie everybody under-estimated.
4. 17 Again — $5.5 million.
Zac Efron should be sticking around in the top five for the third weekend in a row. His lovable body swap comedy has already made over $40 million at the box. This weekend may get hit a little more with the teenagers flocking to Wolverine, but it should still crack the top 5 this frame.
5. Earth — $5 million
Okay, so Disney isn’t donating any more trees in exchange for your tickets this upcoming weekend but that doesn’t mean audiences aren’t going to show up for this nature doc. The movie’s weekday sales have been strong with the film holding on to the No. 2 slot over The Soloist. And with limited children’s fare in the marketplace, it may hold in this weekend pretty well.
Also opening this weekend is Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions Battle for Terra. This 3-D sci-fi animated pic has received little in the way of marketing support. Bowing on only 1159 theaters, most expect the film featuring voice talent from Justin Long and Evan Rachel Wood to not surpass the $3 million for the three-day frame.