Will Smith should beat Spider-Man at the box office. ''I, Robot'' will cut the webbed one's reign run short as they fight over male fans

By Dave Karger
July 16, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

Are Spider-Man’s days of box office superiority numbered? If Will Smith has anything to say about it, then yes.

Smith returns to multiplexes for the first time in a year with ”I, Robot,” a straight-ahead summer action thriller that will easily draw legions of young male fans. Unless, that is, they’re beginning to suffer from summer blockbuster fatigue. Movies like ”The Chronicles of Riddick” and ”King Arthur” didn’t premiere as strongly as their studios had hoped. Still, Will Smith is Will Smith, and ”Robot’s” cool sci-fi effects should translate to a $40 million debut.

After two weeks at the top spot, ”Spider-Man 2” will have to relinquish the crown as it dips 45 percent to $25 million, bringing its total ever closer to the $300 million mark.

The week’s other new entry is Hilary Duff’s ”A Cinderella Story,” otherwise known as ”your 11-year-old cousin’s dream come true.” Duff’s fervent fanbase should ensure an opening in the $16 million range, putting it neck-and-neck with ”Anchorman,” which should slip 45 percent to $16 million in its second weekend.

Completing the top five will likely be ”King Arthur,” which will fall 50 percent in its second weekend to $8 million. And with the arrival next weekend of ”The Bourne Supremacy” and ”Catwoman,” the ancient tale will soon be, well, history.