This weekend, the choices are either to soar with the eagles or dance with the devil, as Hollywood debuts two diametrically opposite movies: Pixar’s brightly animated Up and Sam Raimi’s horror flick Drag Me to Hell. Both are generating great reviews and are coming into the marketplace at just the right time, as there are no other movies like them. Expect a big weekend at the box office. My predictions are below.
1. Up: $65 million
Even with an old man (voiced by Ed Asner) as the lead, Pixar is sure to maintain its perfect track record, scoring a 10th hit feature in a row. While Disney is trying to temper expectations, the marketing on this movie — about a widower who tethers his house to a million balloons and soars off on an adventure with a surprise stowaway aboard — has children going bonkers in anticipation of its opening. (What kid wouldn’t wish to sail away on the power of helium?) Last summer’s WALL-E bowed to $63 million, but this time some 1,500 locations will be readied for 3-D glasses — and a premium ticket charge — which could breeze Up north of WALL-E’s opening.
2. Drag Me to Hell: $24 million
There hasn’t been a good ole horror movie in the marketplace since the R-rated Friday the 13th opened back in February to an impressive $40.6 million. While director Sam Raimi has a huge following, he certainly won’t be able to muster the strength of the evil Jason. However, with Alison Lohman in the starring role and those trailers looking extra scary, both horror fans and young women are going to be clamoring for tickets.
3. Night at the Museum: $23 million
I might be in the minority here (Lord knows, I overestimated last weekend on this film, predicting $80 million for the four-day, when it wound up with $70.1 mil) but I think Drag Me to Hell is going to best Night’s sophomore session. While the Ben Stiller starrer is truly well liked by the family audience, most interested people probably already saw it during the Memorial Day holiday. My guess is it will drop in the 55-60 percent range, garnering a third spot in the box office derby.
4. Terminator Salvation: $17 million
With its early Thursday opening and a total Memorial Day weekend take of $65.3 million, the McG-directed film has already garnered a good portion of its grosses. This weekend is likely to see a 60 percent drop in action.
5. Star Trek: $11 million
It’s a guarantee that this J.J. Abrams-directed revamp will cross the $200 million mark this weekend, making it the first film of the summer to do so. And with audiences still loving it, Star Trek is likely to gross more than Angels & Demons this frame, even though it opened one weekend before the Tom Hanks thriller bowed.
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