Christian Bale And Russell Crowe Face Clive Owen In Box-Office Showdown: Projection Booth

Which will be quickest (and biggest) draw this weekend, '3:10 to Yuma' or 'Shoot 'Em Up'?

Fashionistas will tell you that it’s not proper to wear white now that we’re past Labor Day, but never in their wildest dreams did they imagine an entire weekend without a single genuine hero — nary a white hat to be found in either of the weekend’s two most prominent new releases.

But, then, that’s the life of a gunslinger — and for fans of firearm fisticuffs, this weekend is shaping up to be a gunfight for the ages.

Take 10 paces and turn — who’s the quickest draw among the bunch?

Is it Christian Bale or Russell Crowe? The high-profile pair star in “3:10 to Yuma,” a Western remake directed by “Walk the Line” helmer James Mangold about a small-time rancher hired to take an outlaw into custody (see “Christian Bale, Russell Crowe Reveal Which ’3:10 To Yuma’ Co-Star Has Been Sharing Bale’s Bed” ). (But which is really which? Ah, but that, of course, is the rub.) It’s been awhile since an out-and-out Western has been #1 at the box office, but if anyone can manage — it’s gotta be Batman, right? The only thing that separated that movie from a Western was that it was set in Gotham City and not Rio Bravo.

But if Bale and Crowe think they’re going to pony up to the bar untested, Clive Owen wants to know if they feel lucky … punks. (Well, do they?) The man who was in the running to be the next James Bond stars as Mr. Smith in Michael Davis’ rollicking “Shoot ‘Em Up,” an over-the-top — no, positively surreal — love letter to the action genre in which nary a second goes by without the carrot-chomping Owen shooting someone dead (see “Clive Owen’s ‘Shoot ‘Em Up’ Action Hero Inspired By … Bugs Bunny?” ). Seriously, this movie makes “Death Wish” look like “Sesame Street.”

In fact, the only real heroes in theaters this weekend might very well be some of America’s greatest — the astronauts at the heart of the Apollo space program. The surviving pilots (save, of course, Neil Armstrong) take one small step toward box-office dominance when “In the Shadow of the Moon” opens in four theaters.

Also opening this weekend in limited release are “Hatchet,” a new slasher flick; “The Brothers Solomon,” a comedy from the hilarious mind of “SNL” star Will Forte; and “The Hunting Party,” a drama starring Richard Gere and Terrence Howard.

“I don’t deserve to die like this,” Little Bill (Gene Hackman) says to Will Munny (Clint Eastwood) in one of the most revered Westerns of all-time, “Unforgiven.” “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it,” Munny responds, promptly shooting Bill in the face. Of course, “deserve” has everything to do with it. So does the newest Western deserve to be at the top of the box office? We asked our experts.

The Predictions: Whether it’s in “My Name Is Earl,” “Mallrats,” or the upcoming “Mr. Woodcock,” nobody plays dumb better than Ethan Suplee. But the Kevin Smith favorite is no dummy. Will his prediction force us to wear the dunce cap? Find out below.

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

Josh Horowitz, MTV Movies editor: “3:10 to Yuma” ($20 million)
“One thing is looking pretty certain. The box-office champ this weekend will involve a whole lot of gunplay. So how do you like it? A six-shooter by way of Russell Crowe and Christian Bale or super-stylized action from the likes of Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti? “3:10 to Yuma” snuck into theaters last weekend so the buzz is pretty strong. I’ll look to the old West for my pick.”

Larry Carroll, MTV News writer: “3:10 to Yuma” ($26 million)
“Although ‘Shoot ‘Em Up’ is a hard-charging movie that comes at you like a donkey with a carrot being dangled in front of it, ’3:10 to Yuma’ is an instant classic. The only question in this shootout, then, is how many bullets ‘Yuma’ has in the gun. I’m guessing it has $26 million of ‘em.”

Ethan Suplee, “Mr. Woodcock” actor: “3:10 to Yuma” ($32 million)
“That’s tricky, man. I don’t think it could be ‘Halloween’ again. I’m going to say ’3:10 to Yuma’ because I believe in Ben Foster. He’s a phenomenal actor. He’s personally going to make that movie $32 million.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “3:10 to Yuma,” “Shoot ‘Em Up” and “The Brothers Solomon.”

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