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Box office preview: How will 'Robin Hood' fare against the second weekend of 'Iron Man 2'?

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robin-hood-horseImage Credit: David ApplebyRobin Hood may have picked the worst weekend of the summer to premiere. The 12th century-set English tale of the man who stole from the rich to give to the poor has the inauspicious task of going up against the second weekend of Iron Man 2. Both films target the male audience. Both films are actioners. Both films could be the winning choice for a date night flick. Robin Hood, another Ridley Scott-Russell Crowe pairing, does have one thing going for it: Its core audience of older men are not likely heading to the theaters for Iron Man. But they are also the audience most influenced by reviews, and the response to Robin Hood has been mixed. Most likely, the Universal Pictures movie will underperform stateside, but will more than make up for it internationally. As you can probably tell from its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, Universal is banking on its international gross dominating. And Robin Hood has already grossed $6 million in three countries — France, Belgium, and the French-speaking side of Switzerland — since the film’s May 12 release in the areas. (The studio will open the movie in over 50 international territories this weekend.)

Also opening this frame is the Amanda Seyfried-starrer Letters to Juliet. Summit Entertainment’s bit of counter-programming should lure in the teen girls and perhaps their mothers, while Fox Searchlight is testing the star power of Queen Latifah and the rapper Common in Just Wright. Check out our predictions below.

1. Iron Man 2: $60 million

Since bowing to $128 million, the Marvel sequel has earned another $17 million in just two days of weekday grosses. And internationally, the film has done crazy business putting its total worldwide take at over $345 million. There is no way the film can’t fall a good amount since its big opening last weekend. And considering Robin Hood is around to take away some of their cash, expect at least a 50 percent drop for the weekend.

2. Robin Hood: $32 million

This movie is reminding me of Michael Mann’s Public Enemies from last summer. It features a high-caliber director, a big star, and is a serious period drama. It also doesn’t feel much different than previous Crowe-Scott pairings. That being said, men love a good old-fashioned actioner and Crowe has the gravitas to deliver in the role. It just doesn’t look like its going to do much beyond the older adult audience.

3. Letters to Juliet: $16 million

Tween girls seem to be into this Tuscan-set romance. And they may be able to lure their mothers to the theaters, what with Vanessa Redgrave’s poignant performance in the film. Summit Entertainment is really high on the movie, screening it for exhibitors back in March at ShoWest. But with such a crowded marketplace, the movie will no doubt be hampered by other films in theaters this weekend.

4. Just Wright: $8 million

Queen Latifah’s last starring role for Fox was 2004’s comedy Taxi opposite Jimmy Fallon. That bowed to $12 million. This will be lucky to get to that level. Early reviews have not been very kind, but perhaps fans of rap star Common will help this movie generate some dollars. I wouldn’t expect anything more than single digits, though, and with the movie opening in 1,800 theaters, the studio probably doesn’t either.

5. How to Train Your Dragon: $4 million

With only one more week before Shrek 4 barrels into theaters, How to Train Your Dragon better gobble up its final dollars. The film’s domestic gross now stands at $201 million and is likely to drop another 40 percent this frame. Still that’s one solid debut for an original animated title.