Who will bloom on summer's cusp?

Openers 'Obsessed,' 'Soloist,' 'Fighting' face off against returning '17' in hunt for No. 1

The final weekend of the spring boxoffice season boasts four new pics in wide release.

Combined with anticipated decent business by the previous week's No. 1 opener, Warner Bros.' Zac Efron starrer "17 Again," the industry should blow away the session's year-earlier comparison. Theatrical releases collectively registered a modest $91 million domestically during the 2008 season's final frame, topped by the $17 million bow by Universal's "Baby Mama."

As for picking a winner this weekend, lots of luck. But it seems certain "17" will relinquish the boxoffice crown.

If "17" rings up, say, 50% less than its opening coin, that would yield a sophomore session of $12 million or so. It's considered likely that one or more of the new pics will register more than that.

But which will finish first? That's much less clear.

Screen Gems' PG-13 thriller "Obsessed" looks capable of attracting at least midteen millions through Sunday, though its ultimate haul hinges on how it draws outside of core urban demos. The cast includes Beyonce Knowles ("Dreamgirls"), Idris Elba ("28 Weeks Later") and Ali Larter ("Resident Evil: Extinction").

"It has a very solid cast, and Beyonce has an all-audience appeal," Sony distribution boss Rory Bruer said.

Director Steven Shill gets his first feature credit with "Obsessed."

Paramount's DreamWorks- produced "The Soloist," a $40 million-plus production helmed by Joe Wright ("Atonement") and starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx, is probably the highest-profile pic hitting multiplexes today. But the delayed winter release has drawn mixed reviews, so teen millions certainly are doable but not guaranteed for the PG-13 pic.

"Fighting," Universal's drama about bare-knuckle brawling that stars Terrence Howard and Channing Tatum, has been tracking in similar terrain as "Soloist." Rated PG-13 and directed by Dito Montiel ("A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints"), "Fighting" is likely to prove heavily male-dominated, while "Soloist" should skew female.

The frame's final wide release is rather anomalous.

Disney unspooled its James Earl Jones-narrated documentary "Earth" on Wednesday, the national eco-holiday Earth Day. The inaugural entry in a planned series of nature docs to be branded as Disney Nature releases, "Earth" boasts nearly 1,800 playdates but uncertain boxoffice prospects.

"It's a labor of love, and we'll see," Disney distribution topper Chuck Viane said. "The idea is to bring out something different and try to grow the business."

A previous version of the G-rated pic, narrated by Patrick Stewart, rang up more than $80 million internationally. (partialdiff)
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