Here we go weekend No. 3 of the Big Summer of Tentpole Movies That Are Assured of Opening in First Place and Then Plummeting When the Next Major Release Hits Theaters. Or something like that. Spider-Man 3 is old news, people. This weekend, that big green ogre is the new kid (back) on the block. And his animated flick, Shrek the Third, is a guaranteed winner. But by how much? Take a gander at my spot-on analysis a few lines hence. And then cast your vote in the poll below…for the movie that you think will finish in third place, since the top two spots are set in stone. Just like King Arthur's sword. Which I mention because he's in Shrek the Third, you see. Aw, just keep reading.
THE (LIKELY) TOP FIVE
Shrek the Third
Paramount · PG · 4,122 theaters · NEW
Is it me, or is there not as much buzz and anticipation surrounding the opening of the third Shrek movie as there should be? I dunno, it probably is just me. Certainly, this computer-generated flick is going to debut with huge numbers, because, well, that's just the way it goes. You know, damn the apathy that I perceive among the general public. And damn the critics' mixed reaction (as of Thursday, Shrek the Third was scoring a middling 64 out of 100 on Metacritic.com). Besides the fact that this is its weekend in the spotlight, that this is the weekend when people will go see it without even thinking twice about whether they really want to, all you need to know is in the rankings of the top domestic grossers of all time. No. 1 is Titanic. Duh. No. 2: Star Wars. Of course. And No. 3? Shrek 2. As my man Tony Kornheiser would say, ''That's it! That's the list!'' I mean, it's kind of amazing when you think about it: With $441.2 mil, Shrek 2 is the third-biggest grossing movie of all time in the U.S., following two legendary films. That flick got a huge jump when it bowed with $108 mil three years ago, and you can only assume that its successor will debut even better. Sure, competition from Spidey and slight audience fatigue should prevent another record-breaking weekend. But, as a rare film that'll draw men and women of all ages, Shrek the Third could come close.
Weekend prediction: $119 million
Columbia · PG-13 · 4,324 theaters · 3rd weekend
Spidey swung back down to Earth last weekend, seeing his box-office gross decline a massive 61.5 percent from his record-breaking first frame. With the family crowd mostly going elsewhere this weekend, the webslinger will take another hit. So the big question now is: Where will Spider-Man 3 (which has grossed about $250 mil domestically so far) eventually wind up? A $300 mil total is in easy reach, but dropping 50-60 percent each week, $350 mil might be a bit more difficult to hit. Especially with another formidable foe Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End coming out in just seven days.
Weekend prediction: $23 million
28 Weeks Later
Fox Atomic · R · 2,305 theaters · 2nd weekend
The zombie sequel's $9.8 mil opening was a shame, but as the only major option for grown-up thrills this weekend, it might just hold strong.
Weekend prediction: $5 million
Paramount · PG-13 · 2,547 theaters · 6th weekend
Having earned $67 mil in five weeks, Shia LaBeouf's thriller just won't go away! At this rate, it'll still be in multiplexes when the star's next big summer flick, Transformers, premieres on July 4. Speaking of, have you seen that movie's new trailer? Pretty freaking cool.
Weekend prediction: $3.5 million
Universal · R · 2,531 theaters · 2nd weekend
The Lindsay Lohan drama is a box-office bomb, having opened with just $6.8 mil. But with a lot of sluggish competition surrounding it, the film stands to drop 55 percent and still land in the top five by default.
Weekend prediction: $3 million