With two major films appealing to the younger crowd opening this weekend, as well as a feel-good dramedy starring Will Smith, no one knew exactly how the three would line up at the box office -- except for the fact that most expected all of them to end up with $20 million or higher when all was said and done. Obviously, Charlotte's Web probably has the biggest built-in audience; it's based on a classic book, features the always lovable Dakota Fanning and should attract those parents looking to occupy the kids for a couple hours.
On the other hand, Eragon goes right after the pre-teen and teen market, is based on another very popular book and, with its dragons and sword play, looks to attract a Lord of the Rings-type crowd. But what about Will Smith? Although his last four films have opened with $40 million or more, The Pursuit of Happyness is a bit more low-key and hasn't had as much hype (save for Smith's Best Actor nominations) as the other two. Well, with Friday in the books, The Pursuit of Happyness has jumped out to a small lead over Eragon ($8.6 million) and a larger lead over Charlotte's Web ($3.4 million), taking in an estimated $9 million. Granted, these numbers are largely based on the Friday night crowd, and we still have all day Saturday and all day Sunday for those desperate parents to help Charlotte's Web climb back into competition.
This one is definitely hard to predict, but I'm going to go ahead and say Eragon will end up in the top spot -- let's give it an even $22 million. I think those farm animals will give Will Smith and his kid a run for their money, but in the end I predict The Pursuit of Happyness to take second with $21.5 million and Charlotte's Web to finish third with $20 million. Care to make your own picks?