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'Dinner for Schmucks' and 'Cats & Dogs' sequel vie for box office dollars

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schmucks-carrell-rudd-1Image Credit: Merie Weismiller WallaceWith a plethora of options at the box office this weekend, you can’t say Hollywood isn’t giving you some variety. Unfortunately, none of the options are likely to be massive blockbusters, and Inception is sure to land on top of the heap again. Paramount will unveil Jay Roach’s (Meet the Parents) latest comedic effort Dinner For Schmucks starring Steve Carell and Paul Rudd. The film had a lengthy battle to the big screen, but the producers’ tenacity will mean little for its opening weekend. In contrast, Warner Bros. is reviving a franchise that I’m not sure audiences were clamoring for. The original Cats & Dogs opened to $21 million back in 2001, but who was begging them to reunite, in any place other than a backyard? And the third movie out to lure in audiences is Charlie St. Cloud, the supernatural drama that Zac Efron chose over the Footloose remake. Will the decision pay off? We’ll find out. Read on for my predictions.

1. Inception: $30 million

Christopher Nolan’s Inception has now earned $160 million, and the film’s trajectory is likely to continue this coming weekend. With audiences still clamoring to see the movie and others going back for seconds, expect a 30 percent drop on the film its third weekend in theaters.

2. Dinner For Schmucks: $23 million

Paramount has lured in the young men for this movie, but how well it does this weekend depends on whether or not women are coming along for the ride. Carell and Rudd are clearly appealing, but reviews have been mixed. And the mean-spirited premise of the film may turn off female movie-goers. It helps that Zach Galifianakis is co-starring in the movie, a fact that has been highlighted recently in the movie’s marketing campaign. This is definitely one to watch this weekend, because Schmucks‘ gross could fluctuate anywhere in the $20 millions.

3. Salt: $21 million

Angelina Jolie is holding her own against the big boys during the week, and with little in the way of action this weekend, Salt is likely to stay strong its second weekend. Expect a drop in the 40 percent range, a number that will have the film on its way to $100 million soon.

4. Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore: $19 million

Families are tracking fairly well with this movie, but I think the talking animal genre may feel a bit played out by now. G-Force bowed last year at this time to $31 million and got ridiculed for it. Kitty Galore will be lucky to hit $20 million and that’s counting its 3-D screens. If anything, the fact that the movie is in 3-D could be a turn off to families. That extra surcharge is making the relatively inexpensive outing of movie-going a much more costly activity.

5. Charlie St. Cloud: $15 million

This film from director Burr Steers marks Efron’s first grown-up wide release, but it’s still primarily teenage girls that are coming out to see them. And for Charlie, they are not coming in droves. Tracking suggests low double-digits for the movie, which didn’t cost all that much to produce. But if something sparks and teens want to see Efron’s sensitive side, maybe they’ll show their support with dollars.

In limited release, Get Low starring Robert Duvall and Bill Murray opens, as does the acclaimed The Concert.