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Box office preview: Magic Mike XXL faces off against Terminator Genisys

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The Fourth of July doesn’t just mean fireworks and barbecues: It also marks the halfway point in the annual box-office race. And after a few slow weeks (and a very disappointing Memorial Day weekend), things are back on track. In fact, they’re better than ever. Thanks to strong debuts from hits like Avengers: Age of Ultron, Inside Out, and the unstoppable force that is Jurassic World, the box-office total for the first six months of 2015 is up more than 6 percent over last year. On an even more impressive note, the box office is nearly 5 percent ahead of where 2013 was, and 2013 was the biggest year in box-office history.

So yeah, 2015 is on track to be an enormous year. And while this year’s Fourth of July weekend won’t see a big opening like Transformers: Dark of the Moon or Despicable Me 2, there are enough major movies in theaters this weekend to make sure that we won’t see a repeat of last year’s disappointing Fourth, when soft openings from Tammy and Earth to Echo led to the weakest Fourth of July weekend in more than a decade.

It should be a close race between the top four, with two new openings (Magic Mike XXL and Terminator Genisys) challenging two of the summer’s biggest hits (Inside Out and Jurassic World), and all are expected to end the three-day weekend with about $30 million. Both Mike and Terminator opened Wednesday, bringing in $2.4 million and $2.3 million respectively from Tuesday previews.

Here are our predictions for this three-day Fourth of July weekend:

1. Jurassic World — $32.7 million

After breaking just about every box-office record in the books, Jurassic World is poised to spend its fourth straight weekend at No. 1. It’s expected to drop about 40 percent and (just barely) hang onto its crown. Even if it finally falls to second place, Universal won’t be complaining: Jurassic World is only about $14 million away from overtaking Frozen’s global total to become the seventh biggest film of all time.

2. Inside Out — $31.4 million

Early indications have Inside Out once again coming up just short of Jurassic World. The Pixar hit is expected to fall about 40 percent, bringing in about $31 million over the three-day period. But as one of the only options for kids (Magic Mike XXL and Ted 2 aren’t exactly family-friendly), there’s a chance that Inside Out may actually pull ahead and finally take the top spot.

3. Terminator Genisys — $30 million

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s back in his most iconic role, and Terminator Genisys is expected to make about $30 million — which is actually around what Terminator 2: Judgment Day opened to all the way back in 1991 ($31.8 million). While it’s not expected to match the $44 million and $42.6 million debuts of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator Salvation, Genisys is still looking at around $50 to $55 million for the five-day period.

4. Magic Mike XXL — $29 million

The original Mike scored a surprising $39.1 million debut, and though the XXL version isn’t expected to top that, it should still bring in about $29 million over the three-day weekend and about $45 to $47 million over five days.

5. Ted 2 — $15.1 million

The return of Seth MacFarlane’s R-rated teddy bear fell short of expectations last weekend and only opened to $33.5 million, well under the first movie’s $54.4 million debut. The original Ted held up fairly well in its second weekend, only falling about 41 percent, but as a sequel (and not a very well reviewed sequel), Ted 2 should see a much steeper decline, probably somewhere around 55 percent.

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