"The First Avenger" takes on the last "Potter" this weekend, with the Marvel superhero likely to follow in the formidable footsteps of recent predecessors and open on top at the nation's box office. But Harry's not giving up without a fight.
Paramount's "Captain America: The First Avenger" should command around $60 million to break the record-smashing spell that "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" cast on last weekend's box office. Fellow superheroes "Thor," "X-Men," "Green Lantern" and "Green Hornet" all debuted at No. 1 this year.
The seventh and final installment of Warner Bros.' hugely successful "Harry Potter" series still has plenty of magic, though, and even with a drop-off in the 65-70 percent range, "HP7" could easily make $55 million to $60 million over the weekend. This would bring its domestic total to nearly $300 million by Sunday night.
If four R-rated summer comedies are good — think "Bridesmaids," "Hangover II," "Bad Teacher" and "Horrible Bosses" — then five are better, with Sony's debuting "Friends With Benefits" becoming the fifth edgy adult comedy to hit theaters this season. Expect the date crowd to hook up with this platonic-meets-erotic tale for a third-place finish of around $20 million.
Global juggernaut "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" from Paramount will try to show a certain R-rated comedy who's boss this weekend. With worldwide totals approaching $800 million, this Optimus Opus is primed for a fourth weekend gross of just over $10 million. The film became the first movie released in 2011 to cross the $300 million mark and should be north of $320 million by the end of the weekend.
Warner Bros.' "Horrible Bosses" had a second weekend drop-off of just 37 percent and the film continues to generate strong word-of-mouth as it enters its third week on the job. The buddy revenge fantasy will likely collect $10 million on its way toward $80 million in total domestic revenue by Sunday night.
Paul Dergarabedian is president of the Box Office Division of Hollywood.com and a box office analyst for The Associated Press.