You know what happens next weekend, right? Yup, The Dark Knight Rises hits theaters, and often when there’s an absolute must-see, there’s the possibility it will lay waste to everything in its path. That’s what happen last time there was a Batman movie, so Fox – which has already released Ice Age: Continental Drift internationally – is hoping for a good weekend, and to be the family alternative.

And international is where that franchise’s head has been for a while now. Though the domestic numbers are just okay for its sequels, the sequels did very well abroad. This is also in 3D, so that helps. Stateside, it should do around $50 for the weekend, and over $100 – possibly over $150 Million when all is said and done.

For most of the rest of us, we’re just waiting for Batman to show up. Release dates are like playing poker, and the best thing to happen to The Amazing Spider-Man is that G.I. Joe: Retaliation folded. Though it’s unknown how much that might have hurt or helped Spidey (from what we now know, it looks like Joe would have had an opening weekend and died), but as it was there was no direct competition for Spidey, which means that Amazing will clear $200 Million (at least) domestically. Regardless of how troubled the production was, rebooting was a risky but necessary move for Sony to hold on to the character, and audiences could have rejected a reboot on principle. On some level, it’s strange that they didn’t, but there’s a sea change in how people go to blockbusters, and people have moved more and more to established brands.

As the star system is no longer functional (even Will Smith can’t guarantee a hit hit – Men in Black 3 was saved by international), and the biggest names in the business can have films that do less than $50 million (Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, Brad Pitt and George Clooney to name a  few)  this is what it’s come to, that both the studios and customers want what they know. But the system has proved that most big genres peak and fade. Musicals, westerns, and disaster movies all had their time as reigning champs, but will a generation removed look at something like The Avengers as we might a film like The Towering Inferno or Airport? Hard to say.

The very way people go to movies has changed dramatically over the last decade, with the rise of streaming technology and the economy’s problems, and it keeps changing. And it will keep changing. It’s hard to say if The Hunger Games, which made over $400 million, will have the same cultural touchstone qualities of films like E.T. – The Extra Terrestrial, or Jaws or Star Wars for that matter. And it’s hard to know with all the entertainment options now available if newer generations will watch a film like Jaws. But it feels like with DVD, Blu-ray, streaming, etc. that it’s easier to digest these experiences and quickly forget them.

Anyway, this weekend:

  1. Ice Age: Continental Drift – $57.5 Million
  2. The Amazing Spider-Man – $33.3 Million
  3. Ted – $17 Million
  4. Brave – $10.5 Million
  5. Magic Mike – $8 Million

Savages could hold better than I’m predicting, but my guess is a 60% decline, though Magic Mike could also take a sharp drop. But audiences seemed to really like Mike – at least in the moment. Ice Age could go a bit higher or lower, it’s always harder to tell with kids movies, and it’s possible that people jonesing for Batman could give Spidey a boost.

What are you seeing this weekend?