Last weekend, "The Dark Knight Rises" fended off competition from "Total Recall" to remain the #1 movie in America. But will "The Bourne Legacy," which sees Jeremy Renner taking over the action franchise, be the movie that finally topples Batman? All signs point to "yes," as box-office experts have bet on Bourne.
"Even without Matt Damon, 'Bourne Legacy' will definitely knock the Batman out of the box-office belfry and probably get close to $45 to $50 million," said Jeff Bock, a box-office analyst for Exhibitor Relations.
Changing leads in the middle of a franchise is often a risky move. So will the Bourne series, which is loosely based on the books by Robert Ludlum, have the success of the James Bond series, which has seen six actors wearing the tuxedo? Or is this move more akin to when Ice Cube took over "xXx" from Vin Diesel? "xXx" made more than $142 million at the domestic box office. The Diesel-less follow-up collected less than $27 million.
Hitfix.com editor Gregory Ellwood said it's probably somewhere in between. "While essentially a spin-off, Universal Studios has been using an image of Bourne himself, Matt Damon, in almost all the TV spots and trailers. That image appears in the movie, but the studio is using it to suggest to viewers Damon may actually appear in the film. It's a smart marketing strategy, but you can expect a lot of disgruntled moviegoers after they exit the theater."
While Batman will likely lose to Bourne, "The Dark Knight Rises" should still hold its own against "The Campaign." The R-rated comedy pairing Will Ferrell and Zack Galifianakis will have to settle for #3, according to Ellwood. " 'The Campaign' will have a solid opening, but it appears as though 'Rises' will still edge it out for #2."
Bock agreed, saying the political satire will likely settle for $22 million. That's better than most R-rated comedies this summer — we're looking at you, Adam Sandler — but a far cry from the $54 million pulled in by Seth MacFarlane's "Ted" when it debuted last month. "Ted" starred Ferrell's "The Other Guys" co-star, Mark Wahlberg.
"Political comedies, even starring these two comedy heavyweights, don't usually get elected to the top of the box office," said Bock. He predicted "The Campaign" should get to $65 million eventually; Ellwood put the number close to $90 million.
As for last weekend's big-budget hopeful? " 'Total Recall' will likely be erased from the minds of audiences with 'Bourne' and 'Campaign' hitting theaters," Bock said. "Expect a drop of 55 to 60 percent, putting it on target with summer's other misfire: 'Battleship.' "
Do you think "Dark Knight Rises" will be knocked out of #1 this weekend? Leave your comment below!