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Box office preview: Can 'Nightmare on Elm Street' turn around the box office ahead of 'Iron Man'?

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nightmare-on-elm-street-2Image Credit: New Line CinemaEveryone knows that the official start of the summer movie-going season begins next weekend with the debut of Iron Man 2. But this weekend’s A Nightmare on Elm Street opening just might prime the pump for what’s sure to be a huge box office bonanza in the months to come. And that would be good news for a business that, in the last weekend, fell beneath $100 million for the first time all year.

It helps that a horror film hasn’t hit theaters since February. And with Iron Man hot on the Nightmare reboot’s tail, Freddy Krueger needs to slash through as much box office coin as he can this weekend since there ain’t gonna be anything to share next weekend. Also bowing this frame is the Brendan Fraser-starrer Furry Vengeance, which is unlikely to help quell the box office downturn that began last weekend. In fact, How to Train Your Dragon, which will be entering its sixth weekend of release, is destined to open higher then this PG-rated flick. Read on for my predictions.

1. A Nightmare on Elm Street: $33 million

Jackie Earle Haley in the role of Freddy Krueger was an inspired choice and it’s likely to pay off handsomely for New Line Cinema. The film, from commercial director Sam Bayer, features a cast of newcomers and a revamped origin story. The R-rating may limit its box office potential a bit. But when it comes to horror, is there really any other way to go? Despite tepid reviews, expect this film to dominate the frame.

2. How to Train Your Dragon: $11 million

A 25 percent drop would get this movie with a remarkable run into striking distance of the film it’s been compared to most, Dreamworks’ Monsters Vs. Aliens, which completed its domestic run at $198 million after opening on the same date as Dragon last spring. As of Wednesday, How to Train Your Dragon had earned $180 million and is now destined to beat MVA. That’s good news for a movie that underwhelmed its opening frame.

3. Furry Vengeance: $7 million

Brendan Fraser movies go one of two ways: They are either giant hits or forgettable failures. Furry Vengeance appears to be in the latter category. A co-production between Summit Entertainment and Participant Pictures, the PG-rated family film is not likely to do much business over the weekend. And the business it will do will be with families with young children. But with a negative cost of $30 million and a lot of the film already pre-sold to foreign markets, a low-scoring number at the box office won’t be too painful for the studios bankrolling the endeavor.

4. The Back-Up Plan: $6 million

A 50 percent drop is likely for this Jennifer Lopez-starrer that failed to ignite at the box office last weekend. The movie has grossed an additional $2.6 million in its weekend run and could end the weekend with $22 million to its name.

5. Date Night: $6 million

The Tina Fey, Steve Carell-starrer has held up well each weekend since it opened on four weeks ago. I’d look for another 40 percent drop this frame, which could make it a bit of a horse race between Back-Up Plan and Date Night for the fourth slot. Check back here Saturday for an update.