Another sure Smith sparkler

With actor in his familiar July 4th spot, 'Hancock' will open big

"Hancock" should do handily at the boxoffice.

Which is fortunate, considering that the Will Smith starrer cost Sony upward of $150 million to produce and perhaps another $70 million to market.

Reviews have been mixed, but the topliner's boxoffice appeal is unmatched, and his hold on Independence Day week has proved to be marquee magic more than once. So "Hancock" — which officially opens today but bowed Tuesday night in most of its booked theaters — seems likely to fetch something north of $100 million through Sunday.

"Every man, woman and child in the world loves Will Smith," Sony distribution president Rory Bruer said. "He's the biggest movie star in the world, and everybody just wants to hang out with him and chill." recently asked moviegoers to rate their favorite Smith performances, and two nonholiday openers, April 1995's "Bad Boys" and July 2003's "Bad Boys II," topped the responses, with 29% of poll participants picking his role as Detective Mike Lowrey in those films. About 25% of respondents chose Smith's star turn as Capt. Steven Hiller in "Independence Day" — which opened during that holiday in 1996.

Playing in more than 3,900 theaters since bowing Tuesday night, "Hancock" will have its Friday-Sunday grosses measured against 2007's holiday opener "Transformers."

Nielsen EDI data show that the DreamWorks/Paramount action film grossed $155.4 million during its first 61/2 days after bowing with some Monday night "previews," with $70.5 million of that haul coming during the subsequent weekend. (partialdiff)