Phew! We made it! The month of May is finally behind us. Hollywood’s initial summer onslaught is history. There were winners (Iron Man, Indy 4, Sex and the City, What Happens in Vegas). There were losers (Speed Racer). There were movies that fell somewhere in the middle (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian). And there was basically nothing for young kids to see.
Which brings us to this weekend, when the season’s first animated release, Kung Fu Panda, hits theaters — and parents everywhere exhale in relief. Many pundits are touting this frame as a battle between Jack Black (Kung Fu Panda) and Adam Sandler (You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, the other major opener). But let’s get real: It’s not an even match. After all, kids rule the box office. And so will Kung Fu Panda this weekend. Don’t believe me? Read on for my predictions, and then see if you can kick some ass in the old prognostication game yourself, at EW.com’s Summer Box Office Challenge.
THE (LIKELY) TOP FIVE
Kung Fu Panda
Paramount/DreamWorks · PG · 4,114 theaters · NEW
Jack Black (who, if you haven’t guessed, voices a panda…who does kung fu!) may be a big star these days, but it isn’t clear whether star power really has much impact on the box office returns of animated movies. I mean, if people bought tickets to these flicks based on voice talent alone, Shark Tale (featuring Will Smith) would have been a much bigger hit than Ratatouille (featuring Patton Whatshisname). After all, kids aren’t looking at the promos for this film and thinking, Gee, Jack Black has a new movie — I loved him in Margot at the Wedding; they’re thinking, Ooooo! Teddy bear! That’s it. That’s the recipe for a zillion-dollar gross. Well, okay, not a zillion dollars, but a lot. Considering that Cars debuted with $60.1 mil on this weekend two years ago, that the young-uns are getting antsy, and that critics seem to adore this film, you’ve gotta expect some big numbers.
Weekend prediction: $60 million
You Don’t Mess With the Zohan
Columbia · PG-13 · 3,462 theaters · NEW
And you don’t mess with Adam Sandler at the summer box office: This guy could do pretty much anything and it would gross at least $30 mil on its first weekend, just like last year’s I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry ($34.2 mil). You know, he could even play an Israeli assassin-turned-flamboyant hairdresser and people would pay good money to watch him. Oh. Wait. He is playing an Israeli assassin-turned-flamboyant hairdresser here!
Weekend prediction: $32 million
Sex and the City
Warner Bros./New Line · R · 3,325 theaters · 2nd weekend
So Sarah Jessica Parker & Co.’s revenues dipped quite a bit last Saturday and Sunday, after that huge $26.8 mil debut gross on Friday. So what? Their movie is still bringing in big bucks during the week — $5 mil-plus per day, in fact, substantially more than Indy 4. Gotta love those legs!
Weekend prediction: $23 million
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Paramount/Lucasfilm · PG-13 · 4,190 theaters · 3rd weekend
Nearly $230 mil and counting. And, just as Mr. Lucas predicted, many fans are still pissed.
Weekend prediction: $22 million
Rogue · R · 2,477 theaters · 2nd weekend
Boy, did anybody see the horror movie’s $21 mil premiere coming last weekend? Actually, I know at least one person who did: my boss. Yeah, uh, guess I should start listening to him.
Weekend prediction: $10 million