''Fantastic Four'' will take on Tom Cruise. Though it lacks A-list talent, the comic book adaptation should win the war

Tom Cruise takes on a quartet of superheroes at the box office this weekend, as the movie version of The Fantastic Four storms multiplexes.

Though it features no A-list stars and is coming after Batman Begins, Fantastic Four (featuring Jessica Alba and Michael Chiklis) should manage a No. 1 debut with an opening-weekend gross of about $45 million, a figure that will certainly be helped by the film?s round of Friday midnight showings.

Meanwhile, Cruise?s War of the Worlds should see a 45 percent drop to about $36 million, bringing its two-week total near $170 million.

The weekend?s other new wide release is Dark Water, a Japanese-horror remake starring Jennifer Connelly. Mixed reviews and relatively low audience interest should translate into a debut around $12 million.

The rest of the top five will be filled out by Batman Begins and Mr. & Mrs. Smith, which will gross another $8 million and $5 million, respectively. Perhaps Charlie and the Chocolate Factory star Johnny Depp will help Hollywood break out of that slump next week.

Batman Begins
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