The first weekend in August promises a close race at the box office between action duo Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, Smurfette Katy Perry and clawed superhero Hugh Jackman.
At a time when the summer-blockbuster season usually starts to cool down, "The Smurfs 2," featuring Perry as the voice of Smurfette and R-Rated action-comedy "2 Guns" will squabble for #1 against last weekend's well-reviewed "The Wolverine." Hugh Jackman's superhero flick could hang onto the top spot given that its second week drop-off is expected to be much less steep than the poorly received "X-Men Origins: Wolverine."
"The Smurfs 2" opened on Wednesday. The sequel mixes live action and animation like its predecessor, based on the 1980s cartoon, toys and the original Belgian comic strips. The family-oriented flick sat at a very "rotten" 14 percent on Rotten Tomatoes "Tomatometer" as it entered the weekend, even lower than the first.
"2 Guns" has received decent reviews and Denzel Washington is of course a reliable box office draw. Wahlberg has had huge hits like "Ted" in recent years, though this buddy cop picture will likely open in the same mid-$20 million range as his "Pain and Gain" in April.
"The Smurfs 2" is tracking in the same range. The first movie made most of its $421 million internationally. "Despicable Me 2," a huge hit for Universal that has already made more than $300 million domestically, is still being promoted via McDonald's kids' meals and Cheerios, among other avenues. The continued interest in "Despicable Me 2" will soften the impact of "The Smurfs 2" for sure.
Jackman's sixth turn as "The Wolverine" generated $53.1 million when it opened last weekend. While that's a bit low for an "X-Men"-related film, it was plenty to nab the top spot.
"2 Guns" seems most likely to squeeze past the other two, but the weekend could easily belong to any of these three films. TSo far, "The Smurfs 2" made about $5.2 million on Wednesday, while estimates for "The Wolverine" were around $4.3 million.
The rest of the top five should include low-budget horror hit "The Conjuring" and of course, "Despicable Me 2."