Box Office Preview

Da Big Bucks

Our ''Da Vinci'' prediction: $71 mil. Bad reviews won't keep weekend moviegoers away, says Joshua Rich

AUDREY TAUTOU AND HANKS IN DA VINCI CODE
AUDREY TAUTOU AND HANKS IN DA VINCI CODE

Here we go again... Sony's The Da Vinci Code opens this weekend, in case you haven't heard. Early reviews have been pretty poor, but if there's any movie that can be called ''critic-proof,'' this is it. Now, I haven't read the book, but I've seen the movie's poster and trailer, and from the looks of things Tom Hanks plays some dude who runs around the Louvre while operating a muskrat farm on his head. Indeed, hairdressers may be turned off, but I have a hunch everyone else will want to go see this movie. (Especially muskrat farmers.) So look for it to earn $71 million in 3,735 theaters.

Speaking of furry rodents, DreamWorks' animated movie Over the Hedge, featuring a talking squirrel and other creepy creatures with human characteristics, also comes out this weekend. PG-rated kiddie flicks always do well, especially when they bow on 4,059 screens. But tracking has been a little soft on this one, so it'll come in at $35 mil.

Holdovers Mission: Impossible III and Poseidon will start to sink (that is, even further than they already have), earning $14 mil and $9 mil, respectively. But they'll still beat out the week's last wide opener, Lionsgate's horror flick See No Evil, which bows in 1,257 venues. Given this movie's stiff competition and weak buzz, I see it facing plenty of evil in theaters, with a mere $6 mil take. Ah, yes — so dark the con of the box office.

Originally posted May 19, 2006