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 Lucy‘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 August 1 – 3, 2014.

This weekend, comic book adaptation Guardians of the Galaxy opens in 3,000 theaters and music biopic Get on Up debuts in over 2,000 locations. In limited release, we have Calvary being released on 4 screens.

#1 – Guardians of the Galaxy

Coming in first this week should be the latest from Marvel Studios, Guardians of the Galaxy. While the movie is probably their riskiest since 2008’s Iron Man (the comic book is extremely obscure), a great marketing campaign has helped raise awareness for Star-Lord and friends. The trailers, which combined pulpy genre thrills with a rocking soundtrack generated a lot of attention. Selling audiences on a strange, new world populated by some outrageous characters seems to have worked, as tracking indicates a stellar $73 million opening. Not only that, critics are in love with the new film, with a majority of early reviews praising the work done by director James Gunn.

Positive buzz isn’t the only factor helping Guardians this week. The cast sports a couple of big names that could help draw in the uninitiated. We’re not talking about the ultra-likable Chris Pratt, who has been a standout in character work over the last few years. We’re referring to the men behind the movie’s two main CGI creations. Bradley Cooper (voice of Rocket Raccoon) and Vin Diesel (voice of Groot) are two bona fide A-listers with a number of box office hits under their belts recently (and in Diesel’s case, more than 82 million Facebook fans). Having these two doing publicity for the film will help it reach a wide audience, leading to more potential ticket sales. When it’s all said and done, moviegoers should be hooked on a feeling that the Guardians are the next big thing, making Marvel’s decision to date the sequel a smart one.

Guardians of the Galaxy rocket with gun Box Office Prediction: Guardians of the Galaxy vs. Lucy

#2 – Lucy

Look for last week’s champ, Lucy (read our review), to finish in second this weekend. Using Scarlett Johansson’s increased star power to its advantage, Luc Besson’s latest surpassed expectations with a $43.8 million debut. It obviously won’t be able to compete with the Marvel machine, but it should still hold well given the relative lack of competition as we approach the stretch run of the summer season. Even though reception was generally mixed, it managed to outperform similar titles, giving us reason to believe it will do solid business again.

#3 – Get on Up

Our pick for third is the James Brown biopic, Get on Up. Star Chadwick Boseman rose to fame last year when he portrayed Jackie Robinson in 42 (over $95 million) and director Tate Taylor’s last film was the commercially successful Best Picture nominee The Help ($169.7 million). This gives the film some key selling points that will make it appealing to viewers. Also, Get on Up could emerge as a counter-programming option for audiences looking for an alternative to superheroes, sci-fi, and action extravaganzas. Projected for a $20 million opening, it’s unlikely it becomes a crossover hit, but it’ll be a viable choice for this week at least.

#4 – Hercules

Number four this week should be Hercules (read our review). As the world awaits the answer to whether or not the Rock is playing Shazam, moviegoers aren’t all that interested in seeing the action star in something else. Opening at $29.8 million, its debut was serviceable, but not that remarkable for a summer blockbuster. With Guardians of the Galaxy arriving, the demand for Hercules will continue to drop (not that it was that high to begin with), leading to a fall down the charts.

July Movie Preview Hercules Box Office Prediction: Guardians of the Galaxy vs. Lucy

#5 – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Rounding out the top five should Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (read our review). Fox’s sequel made an additional $16.7 million last week to raise its domestic total to $172.4 million. Critics and audiences agree that Matt Reeves directed one of the best sequels of the year, but a majority of its box office damage has already been done. Dawn has been a big hit, but Guardians will take away viewers, causing Caesar to see a further decrease in profits. That said, it’s holding well enough thanks to great word-of-mouth that another finish in the top five is plausible.

#10 – Transformers: Age of Extinction

Our tiebreaker this week is Transformers: Age of Extinction (read our review), which finished in seventh place last week.

That’s it for this week’s breakdown.

Screen Rant Underground Logo Header Box Office Prediction: Guardians of the Galaxy 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):

  • Guardians of the Galaxy – 3,800 theaters
  • Get on Up – 2,000+ theaters

Opening in theaters this week (Limited):

  • Calvary – 4 theaters

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 (Lucy opening): Sal reports that there was an unprecedented six-way tie. Chris B., The Prince That Was Promised, Jones, Peter Gecko, Roderick, and Troy all finished with 11 points and equal tiebreakers.

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 – Lucy (3)
  • #2 – Hercules (3)
  • #3 – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (3)
  • #4 – The Purge: Anarchy (3)
  • #5 – Planes: Fire and Rescue (3)
  • #10 – 22 Jump Street
  • Final Score: 15 points

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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