After a couple sleepy weekends at the box office, we’re finally getting some films that could gross fat stacks of cash. Yes. Fat stacks. Resident Evil: Retribution and Finding Nemo (both in 3D) will be hitting theaters this Friday in wide release, while The Master is hitting four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, and should either break house records or come close.

Resident Evil 5 comes after the franchise reinvigorated itself with the last entry, which – by shooting in 3D and bringing back Paul W.S. Anderson – made it the most successful film of the franchise, with $60 Million domestic, and nearly $300 Million worldwide. This new film seems to be bringing back all the players from previous entries in the hopes of getting some of that Fast Five magic. Word of mouth could be important, but it’s likely this will act like most horror movies: Open reasonably big, fall by 60% or more next weekend.

Finding Nemo follows a couple of Disney 3D reissues, and with the huge success of last year’s The Lion King, it’s likely that this too will get parents back in theaters. Paranorman is finishing its run, so this should be able to clean up, and likely play right into the early November release of Wreck-It Ralph. Or at least it would normally have done so if there weren’t two big kids films in its way: Hotel Transylvania and Frankenweenie.

Much as we’re seeing A-list titles open around the calendar year, kids films used to come out in the summer and holiday months simply because of school. Not so much these days. And between The Lion King‘s $94 Million last fall and Gnomeo and Juliet‘s almost $100 last February,  you can have a kids film hit any time of the year. The question is if this has the drawing power of The Lion King, or if it will act more like Beauty and the Beast, which was reissued earlier this year after the Blu-ray came out. LK opened $30 Million, Beast to $18 Million.

And this week the Oscar race begins in earnest with the limited release of The Master. The film hasn’t played by normal Oscar rules, so who’s to say on this one. But this weekend it should do huge numbers for the amount of locations its at (four), and we’ll have a review of it tomorrow/later tonight.

Numbers-wise, there’s some wiggle room. The Lion King feels like it left a greater cultural impression than Finding Nemo, which is still the most successful original film by Pixar.  And though The Possession has dominated the last two weekends (mostly because of a lack of competition), a new event horror film could get people out. Could.

  1. Finding Nemo – $27 Million
  2. Resident Evil: Retribution – $21.5 Million

And then everything else, which will be under $5 Million.

What are you seeing this weekend?