By Joshua Rich
Updated February 20, 2009 at 11:45 AM EST

Academy Awards weekend is usually a slow one at the box office. But it’s hard to gauge just how much of a pop-cultural distraction the Oscars are going to be this year, considering all the talk of low TV ratings and whatnot. Also, things have been screwy at the multiplex lately: Taken hit it big opposite the Super Bowl (during another typically quiet frame); Paul Blart: Mall Cop is an out-of-nowhere smash; and other surprises have sprouted up nearly every weekend. So with the latest Tyler Perry release, Madea Goes to Jail, coming out, all bets are off. The domestic-dramedy maestro’s movies usually open well, and this one should, too. But just how big will it be?

1. Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail — $25 million
With just two exceptions, all of Tyler Perry’s movies have debuted in the $20 mil-to-$30 mil range. This one, featuring Derek Luke and Keshia Knight Pulliam — and the first Perry flick to include Madea’s name in its title since his top earner, 2006’s Madea’s Family Reunion — should fall right into the mix.

2. Friday the 13th — $16 million
Great $40.6 mil opening weekend, Jason! Now, your box office tally is going to get slashed.

3. Taken — $14 million
Liam Neeson is my hero.

4. Coraline — $12 million
Kids gotta have something to see.

5. He’s Just Not That Into You — $10 million
The star-studded rom-com has been hanging on really well at the box office, banking some $60 mil in two weeks. Expect it to drop a bit this time around, however, as Tyler Perry and all that Oscar (read: red carpet fashion) coverage will compete for the same female flock.


Fired Up! — $8 million
This comedy — about football players who head to cheer camp to be around members of the fairer sex (my goodness, it’s like the cinematic offspring of Bring It On, Some Like it Hot, and Meatballs!) — is playing in fewer than 2,000 theaters, so it can’t really compete with the big girls.

Now, how do you see the weekend’s box office race shaping up?

More Box Office News:

Friday the 13th slashes records’s Box Office Chart

He’s Just Not That Into You gets lots of love

Taken scores a touchdown
Paul Blart edges out Underworld 3 to win the weekend

addCredit(“Alfeo Dixon”)