Joshua Rich
April 23, 2009 AT 12:00 PM EDT

Forget what the calendar says, box office fans — summer’s almost here! At the movies, that is. Just one weekend remains before Hollywood starts rolling out its big silly season blockbusters with Wolverine on May 1. And, for likely the last time in three months, we’ve got a tight race in store. Four big new movies (Obsessed, The Soloist, Earth, and Fighting) are in theaters, but only one can win. Here’s what I think will happen.

1. Obsessed — $15 million
The plot of this drama starring Beyonce Knowles, Ali Larter, and the suddenly everywhere Idris Elba sounds like pure thriller cheese — a sort of campy cross between Fatal Attraction and The Temp. Ha ha ha. Well, hey, laugh all you want, but in this crowded field, with no potential blockbuster competition, Obsessed stands the best chance of winning (by default). And considering how so many movies have been overperforming lately, it could hit the $20 mil mark.

2. The Soloist — $13 million
You know that the summer box office season hasn’t truly arrived, because, for the second straight week, Hollywood is rolling out the kind of no-frills feature with merely moderate revenue potential that doesn’t get made much anymore. In the fact-based tale, Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. play a musically gifted homeless man and a journalist who develop a friendship. The guys are pretty big stars, which means that The Soloist could sneak into the top spot if Obsessed stumbles. But they may not be big enough to draw a mass of people to an effects-free drama…about classical music…which is playing in just 2,024 locations…that was delayed from an originally intended Oscar-season release date.

3. 17 Again — $12 million
Zac Efron’s age-reversal comedy premiered nicely at No. 1 last weekend, and a 50 percent drop should keep it in the mix again this time around.

4. Earth — $10 million
Disney’s G-rated nature documentary narrated by James Earl Jones started off well on Wednesday (a.k.a. Earth Day), with $4 million. It’s not your typical family film, but it’s the best (new) bet for all the antsy kids and their folks over the weekend.

5. Fighting — $9 million
Gotta respect any movie that belongs to the Snakes on a Plane/Shoot ‘Em Up/Earth school of movie titles — simple, straightforward, and sweet! Of course, neither Snakes on a Plane nor Shoot ‘Em Up did much business at the box office, so maybe the makers of this Channing Tatum urban action flick should have gone in a different direction, moniker-wise.

How do you see things shaping up?

More Box Office News:
17 Again handily wins the weekend
Hannah Montana: The Movie wins the weekend
Fast & Furious shatters records with $72.5 mil weekend
Monsters vs. Aliens opens at No. 1 with $58.2 mil
Knowing cruises to weekend victory’s Box Office Chart

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