Last week was pretty easy to call; anyone who didn't think Shrek the Third would reign triumphant must have something against ogres of color. Our winners, each with perfect predictions, were bubba8193 (again!) and Mario. Congrats, guys. Your auras of superiority are in the mail.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
What It's About: Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is trapped in Davy Jones' locker at the World's End, dead (or "dead") and insane; Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), feeling guilty for abandoning him, leads the rescue brigade; Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) wants to free his father from his debt to Davy Jones; and Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) (who was dead, but is feeling much better) is antsy about the East India Company, which -- using Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) as its pawn -- is threatening to end the pirates' way of life forever. The motley crew heads to Singapore, where Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat) possesses not just the maps to the World's End but also the power to convene the Brethren Court of Pirate Lords.
Why It Might Break the Record: Last summer's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest set a box office record with an opening take of $135 million; this summer the title shifted to Spider-Man 3 ($151 million). Seeing as how the blockbusters seem to be setting new records practically every week, why shouldn't At World's End be any different? On top of that, this installment, which has all the members of the franchise returning, is something of a finale to the series ... even if it isn't (based on Depp's recent comments) actually the end.
Why It Might Not Break the Record: At 168 minutes, and with so many plotlines (some would say too many), it's not for the casual viewer. The length also limits the number of times per day that a theater can show the film; Spider-Man 3, if you're keeping score, was 139 minutes long. (Cranky old lady rant: Whatever happened to the days when two hours was considered long? Anyone? Anyone?)
Prediction: $168 million
What It's About: A waitress (Ashley Judd) who checks into a motel to get away from her paroled ex-husband (Harry Connick Jr.) hooks up with a mysterious stranger (Michael Shannon) who sees bugs everywhere, including under his (and soon her) skin. Are they live, or are they Memorex?
Why It Might Do Well: As far as counterprogramming goes, Bug isn't a bad choice. The success of Disturbia shows that the public's attitude for psychological thrillers is apparently insatiable, and the movie's directed by William Friedkin, who also directed a tiny little horror film called The Exorcist.
Why It Might Not Do Well: Bugs are creepy. And most of the planet will be going to see Pirates anyway.
Prediction: $7 million
Here we go. New twist this week: Predict the final (and I mean final, not the estimates posted on Monday) weekend box office total for Pirates, plus or minus $2 million, and you get an extra two points added to your score. Interesting side note: If Pirates, Shrek and Spider-Man finish 1-2-3, is this the first time that three "three-quels" have finished in the top three? Someone want to look that up? Ah, the power of three -- I expect the Charmed witches to show up at any moment.
Post your predictions by 5pm Saturday. And happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone!
My Top Five Prediction
1. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - $168 million
2. Shrek the Third
3. Spider-Man 3
5. 28 Weeks Later
Last Week's Prediction Rankings
1. Bubba8193: 16
1. Mario: 16
3. Patricia: 12
3. Bradley Thom: 12
3. Tigerfan2014: 12
3. Ray: 12
3. Ronnie: 12