Joshua Rich's box office prediction: ''Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest'' (No. 1 again -- duh!) will top $200 mil and have the best second weekend of all time

By Joshua Rich
July 14, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

Now that a week has passed and we’ve stopped hyperventilating over Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest‘s record-breaking opening, things are back to normal in box office land. Well, sort of. Considering POTC:DMC‘s huge $135.6 million gross last weekend, it would need to have a historic, Gigli-esque 80 percent drop to finish any lower than No. 1 this time around, and that isn’t going to happen. In fact, more records are set to fall.

Disney’s adventure movie has held strong, grossing more than $15 mil per day this week, and, having made nearly $170 mil through Tuesday, it’s on track to become the fastest film to earn $200 mil (according to BoxOfficeMojo.com, both Spider-Man 2 and Revenge of the Sith made it past the bicentennial mark in eight days; this flick is on pace to do it in seven). So I’m hesitant to say that POTC:DMC will lose even 50 percent of its audience. All the publicity generated by its debut is almost certainly going to draw new crowds to theaters, people who wouldn’t have been interested otherwise but now want to see what all the fuss is about. To that end, I think a moderate 45 percent decline is more like it, and that’ll bring POTC:DMC in at $75 mil (and that would, by the way, beat Shrek 2‘s $72.2 mil record for the best second-weekend take of all time).

Another reason why Capt. Jack Sparrow & Co. stand no risk of dying in a duel is the dearth of strong direct competition. Other Hollywood studios steered clear of POTC:DMC, releasing nothing else last weekend and bringing out two comedies now. Universal’s You, Me and Dupree is an Owen Wilson vehicle that’s bowing exactly a year after Wedding Crashers. But will it become the phenomenon that that raucous affair was, opening with $33.9 mil and topping out at $209.3 mil? Highly doubt it. Critics have turned on Dupree (as of Thursday afternoon, it had a lowly 22 percent ”fresh” rating on RottenTomatoes.com), and there’s just not the groundswell of anticipation like there had been for Crashers — not to mention the fact that Crashers didn’t have to go up against POTC:DMC. Still, the better-than-anticipated returns for Vince Vaughn’s also poorly reviewed The Break-Up earlier this summer proves that people continue to adore these guys and would pay to see them in just about anything. So look for Dupree, playing in 3,131 venues, to earn a strong and respectable $28 mil this weekend.

Following close behind at No. 3 will be Sony/Revolution’s Little Man, a Wayans Brothers comedy in the vein of their White Chicks, which opened two summers ago with a surprisingly solid $19.7 mil. Look for this flick to earn $21 mil in 2,533 locations — more than enough money to beat out the flagging Superman Returns, which is on pace to earn a mere $11 mil in its third weekend. Yes, that’s right: Kryptonite this week comes in the form of Marlon and Shawn Wayans hamming it up like school kids, and Owen Wilson gorging on hot wings and stopping up Matt Dillon’s toilet.

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