Welcome to the Screen Rant Box Office Prediction. Every week we put together an informal list of box office picks for the upcoming weekend – in collaboration with the Screen Rant Underground podcast Box Office Battle – 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 Purge: Anarchy‘s 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 that 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 July 25 – 27, 2014.

This weekend, sci-fi/action thriller Lucy hits 3,200 theaters, fantasy film Hercules opens in 3,500 locations, and romantic-comedy And So It Goes debuts in 1,800 theaters. On the limited front, we have The Fluffy Movie playing in 400 theaters, while Happy ChristmasMagic in the Moonlight, and A Most Wanted Man all get unspecified releases.

#1 – Lucy

Our choice for the top spot this week is the new action movie Lucy. Director Luc Besson hasn’t had much luck at the box office lately (his last film, The Family, only grossed $36.9 million total), but his recent track record isn’t all bad. He served as a producer for the popular Taken franchise, and early tracking indicates that Lucy will perform similar to those Liam Neeson vehicles than any of his flops.

The main selling point for the film is Scarlett Johansson as a take-no-prisoners action star. She has become a fan-favorite of moviegoers thanks to her role as Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which showcased her ability to portray the type of character she does in Lucy. Despite being one of the most popular actresses, Johansson is surprisingly not a proven draw on her own (meaning, non-franchise films), but that shouldn’t be a factor here. Projected for a $37 million opening weekend and taking advantage of little competition, Lucy should be poised for a healthy theatrical run.

Scarlett Johansson in Lucy Box Office Prediction: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes vs. Lucy

#2 – Hercules

In a tight race for second, we’re giving the slight edge to Hercules. At first glance, it would seem as if the odds are against this film. In January, The Legend of Hercules bombed with $18.8 million total (indicating a lack of interest in the source material). However, there are some factors that would suggest otherwise. While he has never been a critic’s darling, director Brett Ratner has helmed a number of box office hits, including the Rush Hour series, X-Men: The Last Stand, and 2011’s Tower Heist. His name could help bring in a larger audience.

Also, marketing has been sure to heavily feature Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the lead character. Thanks to his role as Hobbs in the successful Fast & Furious franchise, the actor has become one of this generation’s biggest action stars. His likable screen presence (not to mention his potential involvement with Shazam) should encourage moviegoers to check this one out. Early tracking indicates a $22 million opening.

#3 – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Look for last week’s champ, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (read our review), to slide to third this weekend. Matt Reeves’ sequel has won the previous two weekends thanks to a wave of rave reviews and overwhelming positive response from audiences. Making $36.2 million in its second weekend (only a 50 percent drop), it’s also becoming one of the season’s better holds. While it could very well top Hercules – that film isn’t generating much buzz – we feel as if the arrival of two new wide releases will lower the demand for Caesar, causing business to go down. Thanks to the word-of-mouth, it still shouldn’t be too steep.

Caesar Andy Serkis and Koba Toby Kebbell in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Box Office Prediction: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes vs. Lucy

#4 – The Purge: Anarchy

Coming in fourth should be The Purge: Anarchy (read our review). Horror films typically see a noticeable decrease in ticket sales after opening weekend, and if that trend holds true here, this sequel will fall down the charts. However, The Purge is the only real option for fans of the genre right now (since Deliver us from Evil failed to connect). That monopoly on the market will keep it around for at least another week.

#5 – Planes: Fire and Rescue

Rounding out the top five should be Planes: Fire and Rescue (read our review). Disney’s animated sequel made $17.5 million during its first three days, illustrating the lack of interest among the masses. Still, it’s the only fresh offering for families (How to Train Your Dragon 2 has been lingering for over a month), so moviegoers with little ones could opt for this one.

#10 – 22 Jump Street

Our tiebreaker this week is 22 Jump Street (read our review). The action-comedy continued its impressive run with a seventh place finish last week.

Notes

At one point in his career, director Rob Reiner was a force in the film industry, calling the shots on such classics like Stand By Me and A Few Good Men. Having said that, he does not posses the clout he had in the 1980s and ’90s. Outside of the 2007 comedy The Bucket List ($93.4 million), none of his directorial efforts in the 21st century have topped $45 million domestically. Because of this and a lack of awareness for his new film And So It Goes, we believe that the project will not make enough to crack the top five. It’s projected to open with only $4 million, so it might work as a tiebreaker, but not much else.

That’s it for this week’s breakdown.

Screen Rant Underground Logo Header Box Office Prediction: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes vs. Lucy

Now, if you want to participate in the weekly Box Office Battle, it’s time for you to make your picks! In the comments section below, post what you think will be the top five movies this weekend at the box office as well as your own number ten tiebreaker. Then, tune into the Screen Rant Underground podcast for the results and find out who won.

Opening in theaters this week (Wide):

  • Lucy – 3,200 theaters
  • Hercules – 3,500 theaters
  • And So It Goes – 1,800 theaters

Opening in theaters this week (Limited):

  • The Fluffy Movie – 400 theaters
  • Happy Christmas – unspecified
  • Magic in the Moonlight – unspecified
  • A Most Wanted Man – unspecified

Box Office Battle Scoring Rules: You get three (3) points for each direct match with the weekend actuals and one (1) point for each movie placed within one spot of the exact position. A perfect score is 15 points. Tie-breakers are not worth any points but, in the event of a tie, the person with a tie-breaker selection closest to the number 10 spot will be awarded the win.

Last Week’s Official Box Office Battle Reader Winner (The Purge: Anarchy opening): Sal reports that bman won with a perfect 15.

For the record, here are our picks from last week – along with the corresponding amount of points we received for each pick (listed in parenthesis).

  • #1 – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (3)
  • #2 – The Purge: Anarchy (3)
  • #3 – Sex Tape (1)
  • #4 – Planes: Fire and Rescue (1)
  • #5 – Transformers: Age of Extinction (3)
  • #10 – Maleficent
  • Final Score: 11 points and a perfect tiebreaker

Make sure to check back later this week for the official box office results and tune into the Screen Rant Underground podcast for the weekly winners!

Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90

Source: Box Office Mojo (Release Schedule)

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