Will Woody, Jacob or Tony Stark come out on top?

At the beginning of the summer movie season you can make a case that every picture has a chance to be a hit or, at the very least, a profitable performer. Unfortunately, that’s never quite the case. Theatrical distribution is as much game of strategy and marketing as it is about the quality of a picture and in that scenario there will always be winners and, boy, will there be losers. 2010 is no different.

Looking over this upcoming season, many of the hits are easy to spot. “Iron Man 2,” “Toy Story 3,” “Sex and the City 2”? Easy dough. It’s when you look more carefully at the release schedule that the toss ups come into play. Is “Get Him to the Greek” another Judd Apatow-produced sleeper hit? Can Katherine Heigl go four-for-four with “Killers”? Is “The Last Airbender” the launch of a powerful new franchise for Paramount? Can Jake Gyllenhaal become a real action star and break the video game movie jinx in “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”? The answer may be “yes” across the board, but that doesn’t mean those films or others will make the list of top ten grossing movies of the season. That’s for the true high rollers and much harder to determine. Maybe.