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Box Office Preview: 'Ice Age 3' and 'Transformers 2' wage holiday weekend war

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Transformers-2_dl Hollywood studios always expect to reap big returns on holiday weekends, and this Fourth of July frame won’t be any different. But with the actual Independence Day holiday falling on a Saturday — a virtual dead day at the movies — the gains won’t be as great as some might prefer. Still, with the review-proof crowd pleasers Ice Age 3 and Transformers 2 squaring off — and the Johnny Depp-Christian Bale period piece Public Enemies looking to carve out a special piece of the pie for grown-up moviegoers — the battle will be pitched as ever.

1. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen — $49 million

In just eight days, Michael Bay’s critic-shunning, robot-fighting juggernaut has grossed $239 million, putting it on track to be the highest grossing film of the summer: It’s guaranteed to surpass both Star Trek and Up over the weekend.

2. Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs$48 million

This weekend will provide yet more proof that children love them some dinosaurs — even if it’s impossible that dinosaurs were ever around during the ice age. Critics haven’t been kind, but with the past two Ice Age films grossing $176 million and $195 million, audiences will come out regardless. (Ticket buyers already plunked down $13.8 million on Wednesday, Ice Age 3‘s opening day.) After all, parents need somewhere to take their kids. Oh, and that little squirrel Scrat and his acorn adventures are pretty cute.

3. Public Enemies$25 million

Johnny Depp as bank robber John Dillinger, on the run from Christian Bale’s FBI agent Melvin Purvis, should be reason enough for any moviegoer to spend 10 bucks at the theater. Add in perfectionist director Michael Mann and ingenue Marion Cotillard and we’ve got ourselves a movie. (The film banked $8.2 million on its opening day.) And if that isn’t encouragement enough, consider this: If Public Enemies fails like so many other adult dramas have recently, the chances of seeing more movies like it will be as good as Dillinger surviving the Biograph Theater takedown.

4. The Hangover$10 million

No one ever thought Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis could headline a $200 million grossing movie. And yet, after this weekend, when the $31 million-budgeted, Todd Phillips-directed, R-rated comedy crosses the $200 million mark, that’ll be the case.

5. The Proposal$9 million

This Anne Fletcher-directed comedy has already out-grossed many of Sandra Bullock’s previous films, including The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Miss Congeniality 2. If it maintains its current pace, it’s on track to surpass Two Weeks Notice‘s take of $93 million by next week. Not bad for a movie star who was sworn to abandoning the romantic comedy genre.

More Box Office News:

‘Transformers 2’ earns $201 million its first five days

‘Transformers 2’ grosses record $60.6 mil at the box office on Wednesday

‘The Proposal’ celebrates with $34.1 mil

‘Hangover’ hangs on to the box office lead with $33.4 million

Final numbers give ‘The Hangover’ No. 1 spot over ‘Up’