This week's movie lineup has inspired me to ask my editor to rename this column ''Joshua Rich's Box Office Preview.'' I mean, it's so much catchier than just ''Box Office Preview.'' And besides, including my name would make you even more inclined to read it, right? Didn't think so. Well, the ploy seems to work wonders at the movies, where Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! has done bang-up business since opening a week ago, and where new release Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns stands to make a mint this weekend. How will those two films fare against the rest of the competition including the other wide openers, Drillbit Taylor and Shutter? Let's discuss.
THE (LIKELY) TOP FIVE
Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!
Fox · G · 3,961 theaters · 2nd weekend
After its big debut last weekend, the animated family flick has held on really well during the week, grossing well over $3 million per day. That has a lot to do with the fact that we're in the middle of spring break right now and, as I wrote last week, kids rule the movie marketplace. Also, reviews have been pretty sweet. Easter weekend is never a particularly strong one at the box office, but this film is doing so well and has so little direct competition for the juvenile crowd that it may just be immune to the trends of history.
Weekend prediction: $32 million
Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns
Lionsgate · PG-13 · 2,006 theaters · NEW
If the box office returns of recent years taught us anything, it's that we should never underestimate the popularity and bankability of Tyler Perry. The multi-hyphenate entertainer has written or directed four feature films since 2005, and all of them have been box office successes (relative to their budgets), with three opening north of $21 mil. (No wonder EW named him one of the smartest people working in movies today.) You can expect this film another domestic dramedy, starring Angela Bassett and former NBA star Rick Fox to keep the winning streak going.
Weekend prediction: $25 million
Paramount · PG-13 · 3,056 theaters · NEW
It's great to see Owen Wilson back after suffering his much-reported personal setback last summer. But will this be the movie that also restores his power at the box office after The Darjeeling Limited went off the rails with just $11.9 mil? Maybe not. The comedy features Wilson as a ''budget bodyguard'' for kids who are being bullied in high school, and its impressive lineage includes Judd Apatow (producer), Seth Rogen (co-screenwriter), and funny-film legend John Hughes (who came up with the story). Still, Drillbit Taylor faces a tough contest this weekend with a crowded multiplex, quite bad reviews, and the start of the college basketball tournament stealing the attention of its key young-male demographic.
Weekend prediction: $14 million
Fox · PG-13 · 2,753 theaters · NEW
This latest Asian-horror remake finds Dawson's Creek alum Joshua Jackson as a photographer who notices creepy images in his pictures after a tragedy occurs. (Um, happy Easter, everyone!) The return of Jackson after several relatively quiet years professionally is a welcome occasion for many fans, no doubt. But it's unlikely that his buzz-free movie will be able to match the $12 mil-plus debuts of The Eye and One Missed Call earlier this year.
Weekend prediction: $9 million
Warner Bros. · PG-13 · 3,454 theaters · 3rd weekend
Roland Emmerich's expensive prehistoric action flick is doing well enough, but consider this: When folks start touting a movie's overseas box office returns (in this case, the $100-mil-plus-budgeted film has earned approximately $75 mil abroad versus about $67 mil domestically) so early in its theatrical run, that's usually a sign that the film is a bit of a disappointment.
Weekend prediction: $8 million