After multiple successful films over the last decade, there's no denying the boyish charm of dark-haired star Adam Sandler, a pure wizard at the box office. He's so magical, in fact, he might even beat Harry Potter.
The story of two straight firemen who pretend to be gay in order to collect benefits from their union — Sandler's latest broad comedy, "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" — opens in more than 3,200 theaters, the largest new release of the weekend. It's a relatively small release for Hollywood's most consistent comedic talent. Not including "Little Nicky," each of Sandler's comedies since 1998 has opened at or around $40 million, peaking at $47.6 million two years ago for "The Longest Yard."
And all those were without Jessica Biel in underwear, scenes of which "Chuck and Larry" boasts in spades.
We can't look away from the "Sexiest Woman Alive," but while "Hairspray" doesn't boast Miss Biel, it does boast John Travolta in a female fat suit which, oddly, we can't look away from either. In a car-crash kind of way. We're betting, of course, that that's exactly how John Waters wants it. Based on a Broadway musical that was itself based on a 1988 Waters flick, "Hairspray" centers on an overweight girl and her love for a TV dance show.
Musicals are generally hit-or-miss at the box office (last year's "Dreamgirls" made more than $100 million, while "Idlewild" made only $12 million), but "Hairspray" is helped by a veritable who's who of stars, including Christopher Walken, Queen Latifah, Michelle Pfeiffer, Brittany Snow, James Marsden and Amanda Bynes.
And no, Zac Efron, we didn't forget about you (*wink*).
Also opening this weekend, in just 10 theaters, is Danny Boyle's "Sunshine," starring Chris Evans and Cillian Murphy as two in a team of astronauts set to reignite a dying Sun (see "Danny Boyle's Space Odyssey, By Kurt Loder").
Haven't they ever heard of "Lumos?" (It's a spell that casts a ray of light from one's wand.) Harry's spell book might need to add a few more pages, with the release of the "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" book this weekend. Could unprecedented excitement over the ending of this century's greatest literary blockbuster put "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" back on top for a second straight week (see "Harry Potter Leaks Turning Into Flood; Mail-Order Mix-Up Could Be Partially To Blame")? We asked our experts.
The Predictions: "Harry Potter" may be coming to an end, but the next great fantasy series is just beginning with "The Dark Is Rising." Would star Gregory Smith predict another "Potter" victory, or perhaps a comedic triumph? Find out below.
What's the #1 flick? How much will it rake in?
Josh Horowitz, MTV Movies editor: "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" ($42 million)
"Forget giant robots and wizards for a second, this weekend we may have a box-office champ featuring honest-to-goodness human beings! I must admit that I'm at a loss as to a prediction. 'Hairspray' has great buzz behind it, but Sandler is pretty consistent. I'll have to go with the latter, I suppose, and assume mass audiences aren't easily offended."
Larry Carroll, MTV News writer: "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" ($35 million)
"It might not sell very many tickets to gay people and Australians, but 'Chuck and Larry' will still appeal to a big enough crowd to take in some bucks. And 'Hairspray' will open with a fairly stiff box office as well. Regardless, it'll be the wonder wizard taking home another weekend. Between last week's big opening, and the hype surrounding the book release, there are plenty of people still wild about Harry. I'm gonna predict $35 million for Dumbledore's Army, which oughta buy Hogwarts a nice new cafeteria."
Gregory Smith, "The Dark Is Rising" star: "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" ($34 million)
"I want to see to see 'Hairspray' and I want to see 'Sunshine,' so it could be an expensive weekend for me. But if I had to guess what movie will be #1, I would guess 'Chuck and Larry.' Adam Sandler, you know, sort of seems to get people to see his movies. I think it will make $34 million."
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