Box office: Can 'Iron Man 2' beat 'Dark Knight'? | EW.com

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Box office: Can 'Iron Man 2' beat 'Dark Knight'?

tony-starkImage Credit: Industrial Light & Magic/MarvelTwo summers ago, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight broke all kinds of records with its $158 million opening weekend. Now Marvel is trying to beat that number with a sequel of its own. But will the Jon Favreau’s Iron Man 2 be able to surpass the mania surrounding The Dark Knight? Many prognosticators think so. And with the Robert Downey Jr.-toplined movie opening in a massive 4,380 locations, the screen availability is certainly there to help Iron Man 2 surpass Dark Knight’s record. (Dark Knight opened in 4,366 theaters, by comparison.) But where Dark Knight scored glowing reviews, critics aren’t all that hot on Iron Man 2. (Our own Lisa Schwarzbaum gave the movie a C+.) Still, the movie is swallowing up everything in its path, so this weekend’s grosses will be interesting to watch – whether Iron Man’s sequel turns out to be a record-breaker.

1. Iron Man 2: $150 million

I just don’t think it’s going to reach The Dark Knight’s numbers. I could be wrong, and considering the movie is shorter than Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins sequel, I may very well be. But even though the hype is there for Iron Man 2, we have to remember that one of the main reasons people of all stripes showed up to Dark Knight was to see Heath Ledger’s final performance. That macabre interest isn’t here for Iron Man 2. Still, a $150 million opening is nothing to sneeze at: The movie has already grossed $121 million internationally so there’s absolutely no question it will be a giant hit.

2. Nightmare on Elm Street: $10 million

The Freddy Krueger remake will likely fall fast and hard this weekend. I don’t think a 70 percent drop is out of the question, considering both the competition from Iron Man and the weak C+ audiences gave it in its opening weekend. That poor Cinemascore means word-of-mouth on the film is probably dreadful.

3. How to Train Your Dragon: $6 million

Expect a 40 percent drop for Dragon this week. Both Iron Man 2 and Mother’s Day will likely eat into this audience more so than any other weekend, but considering how well it has performed since it debuted seven weeks ago, the movie still has momentum. Another $6 million will put it at $200 million - not bad at all.

4. The Back-Up Plan: $3.7 million

Despite the tepid response to this romantic comedy, it is Mother’s Day this weekend. And with Letters to Juliet not opening for another seven days, The Back-Up Plan may be the de facto choice for those looking to take mom to the cineplex. As such, this movie might only drop 40 percent its third weekend in theaters. That would put the Jennifer Lopez-starrer at $30 million.

5. Date Night: $3.5 million

This Steve Carell-Tina Fey comedy has done a remarkable job staying in theaters. I do think this movie will experience a 50 percent drop this weekend. That would put the movie’s cume at close to $80 million, which is pretty great for a film that generated lukewarm reviews from critics.

Also opening this weekend is the limited run of the documentary Babies. The movie, which explores the first year of life of four babies in different parts of the world, will open in 529 theaters across the country, obviously targeting mothers and their offspring.