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‘Terminator’ takes on ‘Museum’ in hunt for box-office record

It’s not quite Ali versus Frazier, but the matchup of the big-budget sequels this weekend is pretty close: “Terminator Salvation” against “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.”

The fourth “Terminator” movie is the first in the franchise to be rated PG-13, which will lure younger teenage boys. But “Night at the Museum” was a massive crowd-pleaser when it came out in December 2006, grossing more than $250 million domestically.

Tracking surveys show the films neck and neck, and if they both open to huge business, the 2007 Memorial Day weekend record of $246 million (for the top 12 films) may be surpassed. The PG-rated “Night at the Museum” sequel, opening Friday, will benefit from being the only new movie for families in a long while, and should take the weekend by a narrow margin.

Look for “Night’s” four-day gross to reach about $80 million, with “Terminator’s” five-day haul around $75 million. Either way, both win.

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-- John Horn


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