The 5 Biggest Summer Box-Office Showdowns

fast and furious 6 tank ford escort mustang‘Fast & Furious 6’ has its big opening weekend opposite ‘The Hangover’ this weekend.

Summer is when Hollywood studios roll out their heavyweight contenders and look for knockouts. There are 41 movies set for wide release between May and August this year, and the overall box office is expected to exceed last year’s $4.3 billion.

With so many releases — and we’re not counting the indies — the studios have been forced to schedule some high-profile and pricey movies up against each other.

That’s good news for moviegoers. It means there’s a little more variety than last summer, which was superhero-saturated and saw “The Avengers,” “Dark Knight Rises” and “The Amazing Spider-Man” rank as the top three movies.

See photos60 Summer Movies Looking for Your Box Office Bucks

But for the studios, it seriously raises the competitive bar and financial stakes. Paramount’s “Star Trek Into Darkness” was the only wide release last weekend, but things are getting crazy crowded now.

Will college students spark more to a third dose of Wolfpack debauchery, or a sixth lap of dynamite downshifting? Who will teenagers find cooler, Gru’s minions or Johnny Depp’s Tonto? Can Brad Pitt and zombies punch out Pixar?

Here are breakdowns on five of the best multiplex matchups:

The first big box-office matchup is this weekend ...

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