B.O. FORECAST: ‘Momma’ Is in the House

How do you follow up the biggest movie weekend of the year, a weekend where Tom Cruise conquered the action crowd and dinosaurs wowed the kids?

How about a Martin Lawrence movie? Better yet, Martin Lawrence playing a big, fat lady?

“Big Momma’s House” is this weekend’s lone major new entry into the box-office fray, which can only mean one thing: “M:I-2” and “Dinosaur” will continue to make a lot of money.

“Traditionally, the post-Memorial Day weekend is the calm before the summer storm really commences,” Brandon Gray, editor of boxofficemojo.com, tells Hollywood.com. “But the holdovers [from “M:I-2,” “Dinosaur,” etc.] are gonna be very strong.”

“Big Momma’s House” Gray says it’s unusual that a high-profile pic like “Big Momma’s House” should be released this weekend. “It’s something with very high commercial appeal. Usually you get something with less flair, like a ‘Hope Floats.’ The reason why they’re opening it now is to get a jump on ‘Nutty Professor 2,’ which obviously has the same appeal. It’s two comedians in fat suits.”

Here’s a brief look at this weekend’s new contender:

“BIG MOMMA’S HOUSE” (See the trailer.) The Skinny: It’s not-so skinny. Martin Lawrence does an Eddie Murphy and plays his big fat momma. The Upside: Suddenly, Martin Lawrence is a big movie star. His last two flicks, “Life” and “Blue Streak,” posted about $20 million during their opening weekends. Boxofficeguru.com’s Gray says the new comedy “appeals strongly to the urban market, which does not get movies very often, and when they do, they flock to it.” The Downside: Damn, Gina! Was Martin Lawrence ever funny? Elsewhere, the rest of the pre-summer blockbusters and semi-blockbusters will continue to hang on, including “Gladiator,” “Shanghai Noon,” “U-571,” “Frequency,” and so on.