‘Rush Hour 3′ Vs. ‘Bourne Ultimatum’ In A Threequel Battle, In Projection Booth

'SNL' funnyman Will Forte thinks Matt Damon's Jason Bourne will top box office again.

Ernest Hemingway once wrote of Paris that if you were lucky enough to live there as a young man, then it would forever stay with you, for Paris is “a moveable feast.”

The grand master of American literature was talking about the great city’s beauty, culture and sophistication. But had he lived long enough, we’re certain he would have also been referring to the Paris-set “Rush Hour 3″ — the third and likely last in a trilogy of fish-out-of-water comedies starring Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan — if only for a scene in which Roman Polanski performs a full-body cavity search on our hapless heroes. We’re quite afraid it will be scarred in our memories forever.

And what about when Hemingway wrote, “The world breaks everyone”? That will depend on how many people join the “Rush” to see the movie when it opens in 3,000-plus theaters this weekend. Released in 1998, the first “Rush Hour” grossed $33 million in its opening frame, while the second bowed to a gargantuan $67 million in 2001. (The sequel held the all-time August record until “The Bourne Ultimatum” broke it by the slimmest of margins just last weekend.) It’s been six years since the last flick, so don’t expect “Rush Hour 3″ to again double the box office of its predecessor, but Brett Ratner’s baby is likely to be the #1 movie this weekend.

But will it be #1 in our hearts? Ah, now there’s a debate worth having — and nobody’s more likely to engage us in a little verbal sparring than the cast of “Rocket Science,” a comedy about an introverted high schooler with a stutter conned into joining the debate team (see “Coolest New High School Flick May Be Nerdiest: Meet ‘Rocket Science’ “ ). The Sundance fave hits theaters this weekend in limited release.

Of course, thinking it will win the weekend in so few theaters is an act of pure fantasy — and that, dear friends and readers, is the exclusive domain of one of its competitors. The incomparable Neil Gaiman shines a light through his mind and projects “Stardust,” the story of a man in search of a fallen star (see “Michelle Pfeiffer Turns Witchy, Claire Danes Is A True Heavenly Body In ‘Stardust’ “ ). Opening in 2,300 theaters, the flick stars Claire Danes, Sienna Miller, Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Also opening this weekend is “Descent,” starring Rosario Dawson (see “Rosario Dawson Acts As Muse For New Projects: ‘Descent,’ ‘Eagle Eye,’ More” ) and “Daddy Day Camp,” starring Cuba Gooding Jr.

But all could fall victim to Jason Bourne, the man so tough he could kill James Bond with a napkin (you think Jackie Chan would even make him sweat?). In his second weekend, the amnesiac super-spy could make this weekend one to forget for Chris Tucker and company.

So what will it be? Will “Rush Hour 3″ take the Chunnel to the top, or will the weekend box office once again be “Bourne” to run? We asked our experts.

The Predictions: His “Saturday Night Live” character the Falconer can time-travel through the annals of history, but Will Forte, one-half of “The Brothers Solomon,” won’t get a second chance if his prediction of “The Bourne Ultimatum” is wrong. Is box-office prognostication Forte’s forte? Find out below.

What’s the #1 flick? How much will it rake in?

Josh Horowitz, MTV Movies editor: “Rush Hour 3″ ($40 million)
“Much as I’d love to bet on a film directed by Fred Savage (now when is a Winnie Cooper joint coming out?), I don’t think ‘Daddy Day Care’ has a shot this week. Nope, it looks to be all about ‘Rush Hour 3′ this weekend, not that I can fathom why. I mean, was this stuff even funny the first time around, let alone the third? The second installment in the series doubled the opening of the first. Don’t look for that trend to continue this time, not with ‘Bourne’ still playing to big crowds.”

Larry Carroll, MTV News writer: “The Bourne Ultimatum” ($32 million)
“I don’t know what is more telling: That it’s been six years since the last ‘Rush Hour’ movie, that a main actress (Roselyn Sanchez) was pulled out of the film during editing, that the plot has still been deemed releasable or that in more than a half-decade I’ve never once heard someone say, ‘I wish they’d make another “Rush Hour” movie!’ Either way, it all seems like the perfect storm is brewing for a threequel dud along the lines of ‘Beverly Hills Cop 3′ or ‘The Santa Clause 3.’ So I’m going to keep my chips on the table and predict that a third installment that does have the goods — ‘The Bourne Supremacy’ — will be so strong that even a drop-off to $32 million will turn the tables on Jackie Chan, putting him on the receiving end of an ass-kicking for a change.”

Will Forte, “The Brothers Solomon” star: “The Bourne Ultimatum” ($42 million)
“I’ve gotta say, I think ‘Bourne Ultimatum’ will repeat. I just saw it two days ago, and it is so good. I could watch that movie for the rest of my life — I’m not a car-chase person, but the car chases in this I love. And I love the whole … well, I don’t want to give the ending away. But it’s pretty close to flawless. I’m gonna guess $42 million.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “Rush Hour 3,” “Rocket Science,” “Stardust” and “The Bourne Ultimatum.”

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