Greg Heffley is not a role model.
The middle-schooler protagonist in Jeff Kinney's hot-selling kiddie book series Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a bad student, unreliable friend and not-that-loyal son. And his older brother Roderick is a high-school stoner (although, recreational drug use is never directly insinuated) who gets a sadistic high from making Greg even more miserable than usual.
But it's box office gold, as far as Fox is concerned.
After minting a cool $75.7 million off the worldwide ticket sales a year ago for the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie adaptation, Fox is back this weekend with the also-low-budget follow-up Dairy of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules.
Roderick may be a mere side character in the book series, but Fox is apparently listening to its focus groups, and playing up the presence of charismatic young actor Devon Bostick.
Chloe Moretz -- who was riding the buzz of Lionsgate's Kick-Ass last spring during the run-up to the first Diary -- isn't around for the follow-up, but the second Dairy is expected to easily win the box office this weekend with a gross of more than $20 million.
Predicted to finish second, Zach Snyder's fantasy-action film Sucker Punch should deliver a blow to the head for distributor Warner Bros. The PG-13-rated movie, which stars Emily Browning, is projected to bring in around $17 million this weekend -- that's not enough to offset a shooting cost of around $82 million.
The movie is currently scoring a weak 29 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
If the predictions hold, it'll be the second straight dud for Snyder since his 300/Wanted winning streak several years ago, with Warner's 3D-animated Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole confounding audiences into staying home last year.
Beyond wide releases, the box office will also see the limited debut this weekend of Julian Schnabel's Palestinian-Israeli-conflict-focused Miral.
Here are our predictions for the weekend.
|Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules || We say: $20.0M|
|Sucker Punch ||We say: $17.0M|
| Limitless ||We say: $13.0M|
|The Lincoln Lawyer || We say: $10.0|
|Rango ||We say: $10.0M|
|Paul || We say: $7.0M|
|Battle: Los Angeles || We say: $6.5.0M|
| Red Riding Hood ||We say: $4.0M|
| Mars Needs Moms ||We say: $3.5M|
|The Adjustment Bureau || We say: $3.0M|