By Grady Smith
November 01, 2012 at 08:33 PM EDT

Would you look at that? We’ve reached November — the time of year when studios start rolling out their big winter tentpoles — the ones they hope will hold through the holiday season.

The first such film is Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph, the buzzy videogame-themed animated flick that the Mouse House is hoping can break the streak of videogame adaptation failures at the box office (Remember Doom, anyone? Neither do we.) and bash the competition to the ground. Also opening is the Denzel Washington drama Flight and the martial arts flick The Man with the Iron Fists.

Here’s how the weekend might play out:

1. Wreck-It Ralph $38 million

Disney’s latest CG animated effort, which centers on a fictional videogame character and other rather recognizable videogame icons, has unsurprisingly garnered massive buzz on the web, where gamers thrive. Still, this won’t be another all-buzz-no-box-office situation like Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Disney has aggressively marketed the well-reviewed film, which carried a $165 million budget, and though it may not attract as many girls as some of the more princess-y efforts (I’m guessing it starts lower than Tangled, which debuted with $48 million), boys may be more willing to press ‘Start.’

The last truly mainstream family film to enter theaters was Hotel Transylvania, which began with $42.5 million six weeks ago, so the way is now clear for Wreck-It Ralph to open in the same range. Out in over 3,600 theaters, the big guy could climb all the way to $38 million — but the real story will be how well it can hold up as we movie into the lucrative Thanksgiving frame.

2. Flight – $18 million

Paramount spent $31 million on this drama, which unites Robert Zemeckis, directing his first live action film since 200’s Cast Away, with Denzel Washington, a true box office draw if there ever was one (he helped Safe House open to $40.2 million earlier this year). Argo will eat into some of Flight‘s target audience, but enough adults will turn out for the film to make it a success.  Out in about 1,900 theaters, Flight may take off with $18 million.

3. Argo $9.7 million

After dropping just 26 percent last weekend, the Ben Affleck-directed thriller is destined for another slight decline. If the Oscar contender falls 20 percent, it will take in just under $10 million, thereby pushing it past the $75 million mark.

4. The Man with the Iron Fists – $6 million

Universal took a gamble on RZA, letting him direct his first feature film — and a kinetic martial arts film at that! The $15 million production stars Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu, and it’s being presented by Quentin Tarantino, which will certainly get some of his fans in the door. With a $15 million budget, the project is low-risk, and that’s a good thing, because tracking heading into the weekend isn’t encouraging. Fists has the fanboy appeal of something like Sucker Punch, but not the aggressive marketing campaign to back it up, so the film may start with about $6 million from 1,868 theaters.

5. Hotel Transylvania $5.5 million

Now that a substantial new family film is hitting theaters and Halloween is over, Hotel Transylvania may be subjected to bigger drops than it’s enjoyed so far. This weekend, the creature feature could fall by about 45 percent to $5.5 million.

Check back to EW all weekend for full box office coverage!

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