In brightest day, in blackest night, how many will come see Green Lantern fight? Warner Bros. is hoping that less-than-stellar reviews and a general unfamiliarity with the ring-bearing protagonist won’t keep moviegoers from packing in to see the DC Comics superhero fly, fight, and, um, you know, perform general lantern-related activities. There isn’t a tremendous amount of competition: The previous super-movie, X-Men: First Class, has settled down somewhat after two weeks; Super 8, which might prove to have legs, is still only an economy-sized blockbuster; and the only other major release this week is the decidedly younger-skewing Mr. Popper’s Penguins. So let’s see what our foolproof, never incorrect, always dead-on box-office crystal ball* is telling us.
1. Green Lantern: $48 million
The third superhero movie already this summer, the Ryan Reynolds film comes on the heels of the decently performing Thor and the somewhat under-performing X-Men: First Class, which took home $65.7 million and $55.1 million in their respective first weekends. But unlike those films, of which reviews were kind if not glowing, Green Lantern has already taken a critical drubbing and does not have same the name- or premise-recognition. But it’s summer and he’s flying, so I doubt it will be an all-out flop, although I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up with the smallest opening of the season’s major comic-book flicks.
2. Mr. Popper’s Penguins: $20 million
There hasn’t been a big, kid-friendly film in almost a month since Kung Fu Panda 2, and while the tubby Chinese martial artist is still going strong, we can expect him to drop in the face of competition from another adorable black-and-white animal. Decent reviews, a name star for adults, and a waddle of tuxedoed birds for kids will guarantee this adaptation of the classic children’s book a solid opening, but probably not at a Dr. Dolittle or Night at the Museum level.
3. Super 8: $19 million
The J.J. Abrams-channeling-Steven Spielberg suburban spectacle surpassed expectations (sorry, Owen!) last weekend, but it will probably lose a decent number of viewers to the bigger, flashier Green Lantern. I’m predicting a little less than 50 percent slide from last weekend’s $35 million, bringing the total up to around $67 million. That’s nothing to sneeze at for a film with a relatively minuscule $50 million budget.
4. X-Men: First Class: $13 million
Of all the films this week, the mutant prequel will take the biggest hit from moviegoers staggering towards the Gatsby-esque green light of Lantern. It’s a new, directly competing superhero movie and not even Magneto could keep all of those butts in the seats. Still, good word of mouth, and the fact that Reynolds and Blake Lively are not that much bigger stars than the X-folks, will slow the decline.
5. The Hangover Part II: $10 million
There’s a new action movie and a new kids movie, but there’s no one else competing for the adult comedy spot. The Hangover remake-as-sequel has stuck around for a good while, racking up an amazing $221.3 million so far, and may linger a bit longer. That’s not too bad a figure to wake up to the following morning.
The only other somewhat big release this week is the wistful high-school dramedy The Art of Getting By, which will open in 610 theaters, but probably not to huge fanfare.
*Not guaranteed to be correct about anything. Offer not valid in Utah.