It’s the dog days of summer. This weekend four movies are coming out and – realistically – only one has a shot at taking the top slot. Last weekend saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes hold well enough to fend off The Help, but this weekend it’s more than likely that The Help will take the top slot. Conan the Barbarian, Fright Night, Spy Kids 4, and One Day are all going wide with only One Day not in 3-D. With Final Destination 5 underperforming, and an audience wary of 3-D (in general), we’ve seen studios beg off 3-D for some of their event films, but with international numbers of Pirates of the Carribean 4 propelling the film to an over billion dollar gross, you can’t count out the third dimension just yet.

Of the newbies, Spy Kids: All the Time in the World has the best chance of taking the top slot. The franchise started in 2001 and Robert Rodriguez managed to churn out three movies over three years, finishing in 2003 with a 3-D film that was ahead of the dimension curve. As such, this time the gimmick is that it’s in four dimensions, with audiences getting scratch-and-sniff cards. But as a fourth sequel a decade after the fact, it sees likely that it will fall prey to the same problems of Scream 4 in that the core audience has moved on and the new target demo would probably be cooler with a remake. This is also why there’s no 4 in the title. But where the second film had a substantial drop in box office, the third film had an inflated gross because of the gimickry of 3-D, which pushed it over $100 Million. This feels like contractual obligation. Rodriguez is known for his cheap budgets, so even if this does $50 Million or less, it’s likely that it will make some money.

Fright Night is coming at a time when Horror remakes are no longer as hot as they once were. Realistically, they were never that popular (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake is the highest grosser with $80 Million), but when the film’s themselves are budgeted around $20 Million, it’s easier to make a profit. Currently the movie is fresh over at Rotten Tomatoes, so that may help, but Fright Night doesn’t have the name recognition of some other more recent remakes, which may put in the arena of remakes like Last House on the Left and The Fog (which did around $30 Million). It’s hard to say how much of a 3-D bump there will be, so expect a modest opening for this one, especially coming a week after a teen-centric 3-D horror film that also underperformed. And I don’t know if the somewhat name cast will help. Maybe only in getting better slots on talk shows.

One Day isn’t in too many locations (1600, which is wide but not that wide), and was based on a best selling book. These sorts of films can be underrated, but they’re not selling this like they have a winner. Word is mixed to negative, I would expect little. Conan the Barbarian didn’t screen that much for critics, and is from Lionsgate. It is also in 3-D. The best thing it seems to have going for it is the connection to Game of Thrones, but perhaps the red meat will sway some young men. It has a better chance than One Day, but these are mostly films that are going to be forgotten shortly after they hit Blu-ray.

And so, for the weekend predictions, let’s go with:

  1. The Help – $17.5 Million
  2. Spy Kids: All the Time in the World – $16.3 Million
  3. Fright Night – $15.5 Million
  4. Rise of the Planet of the Apes – $15.4 Million
  5. Conan the Barbarian – $13.7 Million

I would expect Fox to fight for Rise at this point – it’s been playing well, had two weekends on top and word of mouth is great. It also wouldn’t be surprising to see Spy Kids either overperform or undererform this weekend. It is a kids movie, and there’s that. This weekend could be a jumble – I  wouldn’t be surprised if I was dead wrong on the order (though I’d give myself about a five million wiggle room on the new titles) as none of the new titles have that much heat – but any of the new films could get to $20 Million if they hit right. Tracking never kicked up for Fright Night or Conan, but there could be some last minute advertising dollar for them this weekend. As Fright Night and The Help are both Dreamworks pictures, and The Help has a very good chance to make it to $100 Million plus, I wouldn’t be surprised if Dreamworks is more interested in helping The Help, and a stronger box office could help its Oscar chances – which seemed to evaporate upon release. Likely they can get one or two of the cast in good positions for supporting actress awards. We shall see.

What do you want to see this weekend?