Hi all, Patricia here with your Weekend Box Office Prediction thing. I've decided to start keeping score, mostly because I am a geek, but also to foster a little bit of friendly competition among everyone who's been playing along. So let's do it this way: You get one point for guessing any top-five movie correctly (regardless of placement), two points for picking a movie's exact position, and one extra point getting the top movie right. This means that last week, to my considerable shock, I managed to earn a total of 13 points. Close behind me were the following posters:

chrisnbn - 11
zsxxx03 - 10
hulkbashing - 9

crzydcguy84 - 8

Got that? All right, let's get ready to play.
Ryan Phillippe in Flags of Our Fathers

It's anyone's game this weekend; four movies are opening in wide release, and at least three of them have the potential to capture the box office, though probably not with huge returns.

'Flags of Our Fathers'
: Clint Eastwood's World War II drama focuses on the famous photograph of soldiers raising an American flag over Iwo Jima. After that photo was taken, the three surviving men -- played by Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford and Adam Beach -- were flown home to tour the U.S. in a dog-and-pony show meant to drum up money for the war effort. The movie is bound to earn comparisons to Spielberg's'Saving Private Ryan' (note: Spielberg was a producer on 'Flags'), but Eastwood is less interested in warfare than in wartime propaganda, in our need to believe in heroes, and in the effect that war has on the men who fight it. If it sounds like a bit of a downer, maybe it is; but the movie, which is well-acted and obviously topical, is getting good reviews, and of course Eastwood is a draw all on his own.

Christian Bale in The Prestige

'The Prestige': Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale star in this Christopher Nolan-directed film about rival magicians locked in a bitter and dangerous feud. There's been a lot of anticipation about this one, at least in certain circles; Nolan isn't as big of a name as Eastwood, but he did direct 'Batman Begins,' which mustered up a pretty nice chunk of change. We've seen from the healthy returns of indie upstart 'The Illusionist' that magic sells, and with Jackman, Bale (it's Wolverine vs. Batman!) and Scarlett Johansson (looking very busty indeed in her teensy-weensy costumes) as eye candy, there's a good chance that fun-seeking audiences will seek out 'The Prestige' this weekend. On the other hand, some flaws in the plot -- which I can't actually discuss, since they'll give away the ending -- may keep this movie from earning Batman-sized bucks.

Alison Lohman in Flicka'Flicka': Remember the rule: Family films are golden. The big-screen adaptation of the children's novel 'My Friend Flicka' stars Tim McGraw and Alison Lohman, who was last seen engaging in a little girl-on-girl action in 'Where the Truth Lies,' so it's jarring to see her starring in a family movie, but we'll go with it. (The joke around this office whenever 'Flicka' comes up is, "Well, we've already seen Alison Lohman naked ..." OK, maybe that's not exactly a joke, but we can't stop saying it anyway.) Girls love horses, a fact to which I can personally attest, having been the proud eight-year-old "owner" of an invisible horse named Lightning, and now I've said too much, haven't I? And moms love Tim McGraw. Plus, 'Flicka' is opening on 2,877 screens, far more than either 'Flags' or 'The Prestige,' so that alone could boost this "girl and her horse" story to the top.

Kirsten Dunst in Marie Antoinette'Marie Antoinette':Sofia Coppola's follow-up to 'Lost in Translation,' which stars Kirsten Dunst as the doomed queen of France, was booed at Cannes -- those French people are SO touchy -- but American critics have been somewhat kinder. It's got a great soundtrack and is awfully pretty to look at, what with all the clothes and the food and the sumptuous sets (the movie was filmed at Versailles), not to mention the Dunst. Jason Schwartzman is also hilarious as the sort-of-impotent King Louis XVI. Still, it's only opening on 859 screens; and despite the success of 'Lost in Translation, audiences tend to think of Coppola as an indie director, so the movie will probably perform accordingly.

Drum roll, please. My picks follow. I could easily go zero-for-five this week, so please, be kind. And enjoy the weekend, everyone.

  1. The Prestige
  2. Flags of Our Fathers
  3. Flicka
  4. The Departed
  5. The Grudge 2

The Prestige: Showtimes, trailer & more info | Jackman/Bale Unscripted | Movie photos

Flags of Our Fathers: Showtimes, trailer & more info | Ryan Phillippe AIM interview

Flicka: Showtimes, trailer & more info | Clips from the movie | Movie photos

Marie Antoinette: Showtimes, trailer & more info | Dunst/Schwartzman Unscripted

Tags:The Prestige, Flags of Our Fathers, Flicka, Marie Antoinette, box office