‘Evan’ hopes to flood box office

Universal and director Tom Shadyac’s “Evan Almighty” is the latest sequel to hit the multiplexes this weekend, amid high expectations. “Bruce Almighty” — the first “Almighty” film, which starred Jim Carrey as a regular guy who inherits divine powers — opened to $67.9 million in May 2003. But “Evan” is tracking to bow well below that number, even while it stands as a likely No. 1 candidate over the frame. Then again, tracking data has been shaky lately: Last weekend, Fox’s “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” looked like it wouldn’t beat the pervious entry in that franchise, according to pre-weekend data, but the film came out ahead of the game with a healthy $58 million. Also hitting screens this weekend will be MGM’s release of the Weinstein Co.’s supernatural thriller “1408,” in 2,678 theaters. Film, starring John Cusack as a paranormal investigator, is based on a Stephen King short story. Paramount Vantage’s politically charged Michael Winterbottom drama “A Mighty Heart” makes a play, meantime, for more serious filmgoers. Film comes at a time when some specialty films have been playing buoyantly at the box office among the blockbuster popcorn movies. “Heart,” starring Angelina Jolie, beats in a wide 1,355 locations. Weinstein Co. also is making a play for the specialty crowd by deciding to release its Michael Moore documentary “Sicko” early in New York. TWC is sneaking the film on Saturday in major markets, too.

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