Live-Action Dragonball Joins Box Office Battle

It’s not animated, but the live-action version of Dragonball: Evolution is expected to lure fans of the popular anime and manga series to theaters this weekend.

The Fox adaptation, which stars Justin Chatwin, Chow Yun-Fat, Emmy Rossum and James Marsters, opens at 2,181 theaters this weekend. The feature is based on the hugely successful franchise created by Akira Toriyama, which was introduced in 1984 and consists of one manga series, three anime series, 17 animated feature films, an unofficial live-action Chinese feature film, a collectible card game, a large number of video games, collectible products, and action figures.

Although the live-action feature is directed by James Wong (Final Destination, The X-Files), it has received lukewarm reviews in European and Asian territories–where it opened weeks before its U.S. debut. It faces some stiff competition from Disney’s Hannah Montana: The Movie, which also opens Friday. The family comedy, which stars Miley Cyrus and is based on the Disney Channel series, is the weekend’s widest-opening film, hitting more than 3,100 theaters.

Going for a slightly older laughs (and some edgy content) is Observe and Report, the new comedy starring Seth Rogen. The Warner Bros. film is set to open at 2,727 theaters.

Also vying for the box office crown is last weekend’s winner, Fast & Furious, which is sure to do well after a phenomenal $72 million three-day opening.

DreamWorks’ Monsters vs. Aliens in 3-D also should do well in its third weekend in release. The film has grossed $114 million domestically and $45 million internationally through Wednesday.