Welcome to the Screen Rant Box Office Prediction. Every week we put together an informal list of box office picks for the upcoming weekend – to offer readers a rough estimate of how new releases (and returning holdovers) will perform in theaters.

For a recap of last week’s box office totals, read our box office wrap-up from The Boy Next Doors opening weekend – and scroll to the bottom of this post to see how our previous picks measured up.

Full disclosure: Box office predictions are not an exact science. We acknowledge our picks may not always be correct. For the sake of offering a jumping off point for discussion, here are our picks for the weekend of January 30 – February 1, 2015.

This weekend, drama Black or White debuts in 1,500 theaters, thriller The Loft opens in 1,800 locations, and sci-fi found footage film Project Almanac is released in 2,800 theaters.

#1 – American Sniper

Our pick for first is American Sniper (read our review) once again. Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-nominated war drama has taken the box office by storm since it opened nationwide a couple weeks ago. Thanks to strong word-of-mouth and the film becoming a heated talking point within the zeitgeist, it grossed $64.6 million last week, which is only a 27.6 percent decrease from its record-shattering debut. Sniper has quickly become one of the highest-grossing films of 2014; and with minimal competition opening this weekend, those figures will only continue to rise.

american sniper bradley cooper1 Box Office Prediction: American Sniper vs. Project Almanac


#2 – Project Almanac

Coming in second should be Project Almanac, which is a sci-fi found footage movie from producer Michael Bay. The filmmaker may not be calling the shots on this one, but his involvement even as a producer can lead to healthy box office totals. Last year alone saw minor hits like Ouija ($50.8 million) and The Purge: Anarchy ($71.9 million); as well as the blockbuster Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ($191.2 million) fall under his banner. Bay may draw the ire of many moviegoers, but he also seems to know how to draw them in.

As such, Project Almanac should do fine for itself, especially in the slow month of January. Early tracking has it projected at $19 million, which is far and away the highest estimated total for this week’s new arrivals. Audiences may be losing interest in found footage material, but the sci-fi genre spin of Project Almanac (in which a group of friends builds a time machine) should give it some extra appeal as well.

#3 – Paddington

We believe that Paddington (read our review) will come in third for the second-consecutive week. The adaptation of the classic children’s book series has proven to be commercially viable, totaling $12.2 million last weekend. Those numbers won’t necessarily blow people away, but given the current moviegoing landscape, it’s strong enough to be considered a success. As families still have few options available to them, Paddington will continue to attract a crowd.

paddington movie 2015 trailer Box Office Prediction: American Sniper vs. Project Almanac


#4 – The Boy Next Door

Our pick for fourth is The Boy Next Door, which finished in second last week after grossing $14.9 million. However, the word-of-mouth (and the overall critical response) for this erotic thriller has been awful, which means that it won’t have strong legs at the box office. Now that it’s been out and those interested have gotten a chance to check it out, it should fall down the charts rather quickly.

#5 – The Wedding Ringer

Rounding out the top five should be The Wedding Ringer (read our review), which came in fourth last week. Kevin Hart’s latest comedy hasn’t been the runaway success some of his previous endeavors have been, but at $39.3 million through two weeks of release, it hasn’t been an outright failure either. Like in the case of PaddingtonWedding Ringer‘s target audience (comedy fans) have little to choose from nowadays, which will be an added benefit for a film that hasn’t blown the masses away. Even if its days in the top five are nearing an end, The Wedding Ringer should continue to post solid grosses due to little competition.

Notes

Black or White Movie 2015 starring Kevin Costner and Olivia Spencer Box Office Prediction: American Sniper vs. Project Almanac


There are two wide releases this week, Black or White (pictured) and The Loft, that we believe will fail to make the top five this week. That is because in both instances, awareness has been very low (despite high-profile talent attached to the movies), making it highly unlikely that they can hang with the more visible existing holdovers. Black or White is only projected to make $4 million this weekend, while The Loft is estimated at $3.5 million, which wouldn’t have even been good enough for tenth last week.

Last Week’s Recap

Like last week, we were able to nail the first four spots in our predictions, but had a major miss for number five. We had believed that the talented ensemble for Mortdecai would catapult Johnny Depp’s newest starring vehicle into the top of the charts, but instead it was a massive misfire. The comedy caper grossed an awful $4.2 million in its first three days and could only manage a ninth-place opening. Depp’s time as an A-lister could be coming to a end.

Next Week: Jupiter Ascending, Seventh Son, and more!

Source: Box Office Mojo (Release Schedule) and Box Office [1], [2], [3] (Opening Weekend Projections)