A would-be Oscar vehicle doesn't go up against a giant-robot movie and live to tell about it.
Or does it...?
Which is not the same as saying it's going to topple the Michael Bay behemoth.
Chad Hartigan, a box office analyst for Exhibitor Relations, is calling for Public Enemies to gross in the high $20 millions to low $30 millions, and finish its first weekend in third place, behind Revenge of the Fallen and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, another giant popcorn picture, likewise opening Wednesday.
The projected gross would mark a career best for director Michael Mann (Collateral), a bigger-than-average debut for a non-Pirates of the Caribbean Depp movie—and a turnaround for a year that's been especially unkind to grown-up movies in which the grown-ups don't fly.
But it would not be near enough to best Revenge of the Fallen, which could plunge 60 percent from last weekend—and still collect another $43 million or so.
In the end, the business of taking out giant robots is probably best left to wizards.
And, yes, that's a hint that Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is nigh.