Some physicists have theorized that having Matthew McConaughey and Bradley Cooper debuting films at the same weekend box office could create a cataclysmic event, where all space, time and matter gets crushed into a singular pellet ... a very tiny, self-satisfied pellet.
But that's fringe science -- everything will be just fine when Cooper's Relativity Media thriller Limitless unspools at 2,756 theaters in the U.S. and Canada this weekend, at the same time that McConaughey's Lionsgate film The Lincoln Lawyer comes out in 2,707 domestic locations.
Also adding to the fun will be the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost-written Paul, an R-rated comedy voice-starring Seth Rogen as an E.T.-lookin' space alien.
With the box office continuing its drought, no film is projected to gross even $20 million, but the movies should be pretty good.
Starring Cooper and Robert De Niro, Limitless features Cooper getting a bit too carried away with himself -- and for way more than four hours -- after taking an performance-enhancement pill. The film critic at my day job, who eats leading men like Cooper for lunch, actually says his performance is top-notch ... even if the movie lacks a bit.
Box office trackers estimate the film will gross around $16 million this weekend.
McConaughey, meanwhile, stars as a morally compromised barrister (yeah, one of those other kinds) in Lionsgate's The Lincoln Lawyer, a $40 million crime drama that's expected to bring in around $10 million this weekend.
The cast for the film is what you might call kick-ass, with Ryan Phillippe, Marisa Tomei, William H. Macy, Josh Lucas, Bryan Cranston and John Leguizamo on hand to help dilute that McConaughey aftertaste. (Sorry, personal thing against the University of Texas alumnus, who cheered wildly on the sidelines during the Longhorns' 2006 upset win over my beloved USC Trojans at BCS Championship game.)
But from Failure to Launch to Fools Gold, McConaughey has proven that he can open a movie. Reviews are also solid for the R-rated film, which has scored a very good 80 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Don't be surprised if The Lincoln Lawyer rises above expectations and wins the weekend.
For its part, Universal's Paul could also end up winning the weekend box office, if it does better than tracking estimates in the $12 million range.
Holdovers Rango and Battle: L.A. also have a shot amid a weekend during which no movie is a hit, but few will be dudes.
Here's our predictions for the weekend box office:
|Limitless || We say: $16.0M|
|Battle: Los Angeles ||We say: $15.0M|
| Rango ||We say: $14.0M|
|Paul || We say: $12.0|
|The Lincoln Lawyer ||We say: $10.0M|
|Red Riding Hood || We say: $8.0M|
|The Adjustment Bureau || We say: $7.0M|
| Mars Needs Moms ||We say: $4.5M|
| Hall Pass ||We say: $3.0M|
|Beastly || We say: $2.0M|