"Ice Age: Continental Drift"will float to the top of the box office chart this weekend, as the animated 3-D sequel is expected to freeze out the competition.
The fourth installment in the popular series featuring a group of prehistoric mammals will probably debut with a solid sum of $50 million to $55 million, according to those who have seen pre-release audience surveys. Twentieth Century Fox is predicting a softer domestic opening of $35 million to $40 million.
Meanwhile,"The Amazing Spider-Man"— which has already pulled $160 million into its web — should maintain a solid hold during its second weekend in theaters. Audiences who saw the movie upon its debut assigned it an average grade of A-, according to market research firm CinemaScore. That means word of mouth should be good, and the film will probably gross an additional $30 million this weekend.
Though "Ice Age 4" is the only new film hitting theaters this weekend, it will face competition from two animated movies still playing at the multiplex. DreamWorks Animation's "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" is slowing down as it enters its sixth weekend with about $200 million in ticket sales, but Pixar Animation's"Brave" is still a viable competitor. The movie about a feisty Scottish princess has sold about $180 million worth of tickets and took third place at the box office last weekend during its third week in release.