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 Project Almanacs 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 February 6 – 8, 2015.

This weekend, animated/live action hybrid The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water debuts in over 3,500 theaters, sci-fi epic Jupiter Ascending is released in more than 3,150 theaters, and fantasy flick Seventh Son comes out in 2,800 theaters.

#1 – The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

Our pick for first this week is the new family film, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. The animation/live action hybrid should have a strong showing thanks to it featuring one of the more beloved modern cartoon characters. SpongeBob Squarepants has proven to be a very popular TV show since it debuted in 1999, and the brand is still going strong after all these years. At the peak of the show’s powers, the first SpongeBob movie was released in 2004, and grossed $85.4 million domestically (opening with $32 million), so we’ve already seen that the character can star in a hit film.

Distributor Paramount is probably hoping for something in the same vein as The LEGO Movie, which made $69 million in its first three days while opening in a similar timeframe. The likelihood of that happening is quite low, but The SpongeBob Movie should do well on its own. Early tracking indicates that it’s in line for a $25 million opening weekend, and with the 3D surcharges and family appeal, it should get to the top.

SpongeBob and Patrick in Sponge Out of Water Box Office Prediction: American Sniper vs. The SpongeBob Movie

#2 – American Sniper

After an illustrious run in first place, we’re predicting that American Sniper (read our review) will fall to second in its fourth weekend of wide release. Clint Eastwood’s Best Picture contender broke another record last week, posting the highest Super Bowl weekend gross in movie history ($31.8 million). Thanks the the strong audience word-of-mouth and the awards buzz, Sniper maintained strong legs throughout January, and it should be more of the same in February. Though most of its damage has been done, there will be those interested in seeing it now that we’re only a few short weeks away from the Oscar ceremony, which will help it continue to post healthy numbers.

#3 – Jupiter Ascending

Coming in third should be Jupiter Ascending, the new film by the Wachowskis. The directors made a name for themselves when The Matrix became a cultural phenomenon in 1999, but their endeavors outside of that franchise haven’t been nearly as profitable. In 2008, Speed Racer made only $43.8 million; and Cloud Atlas fared even worse in 2012, grossing a measly $27.1 million. The two are household names, but that doesn’t seem to carry much weight with audiences anymore.

Unfortunately, Jupiter Ascending appears to be more of the same when compared to their recent outings. It’s currently projected to make just $18 million opening weekend, which is far from what Warner Bros. was hoping for. Even though it sports an A-list cast that includes Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Sean Bean, and recent Oscar-nominee Eddie Redmayne, the decision to delay the project (it was originally scheduled for last summer) will cause some to question its quality, and the early reviews haven’t been all that flattering. Unless there’s a Batman V Superman trailer attached, we doubt many will flock to check this one out.

 Box Office Prediction: American Sniper vs. The SpongeBob Movie

#4 – Seventh Son

Our pick for fourth is Seventh Sonthe new fantasy film that is an adaptation of the Wardstone Chronicles book series. Like Jupiter Ascending, this film has had a tough road to the big screen, having been delayed several times before settling on the February 2015 release date. As a result, there is little-to-no-buzz surrounding it, even though its cast does include recognizable faces like Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore. Awareness seems to be an issue also, since tracking currently indicates an $8 million debut.

What will hurt Seventh Son in the long run is that the similarly-minded genre picture Jupiter Ascending will be competing for the same target audience, and the Wachowskis’ film is arguably more high-profile. Like a couple of the other wide releases that have come out this year, Seventh Son seems destined to be a flop, even though on paper it should post respectable grosses at least.

#5 – Paddington

Rounding out the top five should be Paddington (read our review). The family film finished in second last week, but only with $8.5 million, meaning that the project may be losing some steam. With the arrival of SpongeBob, a key portion of its demographic will be preoccupied in Bikini Bottom, so it looks like the lovable bear is going to fall down the charts a bit this week.

paddington 2014 trailer Box Office Prediction: American Sniper vs. The SpongeBob Movie

Last Week’s Recap

While we were spot on with American Sniper repeating again, things were a little off as we went down the line. Despite being a new release, Project Almanac couldn’t beat Paddington for the second spot (we thought it would), and Black or White managed to crack the top five after all, with a fourth place finish. We were also wrong about the number five pick, choosing Wedding Ringer over The Boy Next Door (which we had fourth). Here’s to a better showing this week.

Next Week: Kingsman: The Secret Service, Fifty Shades of Grey, and more!

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

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