Box Office Preview

'Stand' Will Deliver

Joshua Rich's prediction: Over four days, ''X-Men: The Last Stand'' could bring around $90 mil

THERE'S A STORM COMING And a Wolverine too, and they're looking to break the bank this holiday weekend
THERE'S A STORM COMING And a Wolverine too, and they're looking to break the bank this holiday weekend

Here we go again... The Gods of Movie Distribution have smiled upon me this Memorial Day weekend. Just one major motion picture opens today, Fox's X-Men: The Last Stand, and everybody knows it'll be No. 1, which makes my job pretty easy, wouldn't you say? So... well, my work here is done. Surf City, here I come!

Oh, okay, you took the time to log on to this free website, so I guess I have to give you your money's worth. X-M:TLS bows on 3,689 screens, which in industry jargon is ''very'' wide — as opposed to ''super-duper'' wide, or something, which is how Mission: Impossible III premiered four weeks ago, in more than 4,000 venues. But don't be surprised if X-M:TLS winds up with a first weekend that's far superior to M:I-3's $47.7 million. Why? (You mean besides the fact that this film stars nobody who's pissed off women and shrinks nationwide?) The PG-13-rated X-M:TLS sports quite the pedigree. X1 premiered with $54.5 mil in 2000, and X2 debuted to $85.6 mil in 2003. Director Brett Ratner has a spotty history at the box office, for sure, but when it comes to franchise-picture openings, he really is the golden boy he purports to be: Rush Hour bowed with $33 mil in 1998, Rush Hour 2 took in $67.4 mil in 2001, and Red Dragon earned $36.5 mil in 2002. Heck, as I mentioned in this very column a few weeks back, even star Hugh Jackman's Van Helsing had a solid $51.7 mil premiere in 2004. The numbers don't lie, and they point to a huge $91 mil opening for X-M:TLS this four-day Memorial Day weekend.

The Da Vinci Code has been playing very strongly during this past week, following its terrific $77.1 mil bow last weekend. It'll go down a bit — but, with just one other movie as major competition, not too much — and earn $53 mil over the four-day span. And, in honor of Tom Hanks, that's all I have to say about that.

Originally posted May 25, 2006
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