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 Expendables 3‘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 22 – 24, 2014.

This weekend, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For opens in 2,750 theaters, If I Stay debuts in over 2,500 theaters, and When the Game Stands Tall plays in 2,600 locations. In limited release we have Are You Here playing on an unspecified number of screens and The One I Love seeing a release of nine theaters.

#1 – If I Stay

Our pick for first is the new drama If I Stay, which stars Chloe Grace-Moretz as a young girl who must make a life-altering decision while going through an out-of-body experience. The film hasn’t had the most visible marketing campaign in the world, but it’s generating a lot of attention via social media. Twitter and Facebook mentions are helping spread the word about the film and the source material novel has an equally large following. It’s a similar strategy that The Fault in Our Stars used earlier this year to great success.

As a result, those playing our game would be wise to not underestimate If I Stay‘s potential. Awareness for this film is higher than any of the other new releases and early tracking numbers project an opening weekend of $19.5 million. Targeting a young female demographic that is rarely deemed as a priority should make it an appealing counter-programming option, leading to big business in its first three days.

if i stay chloe grace moretz Box Office Prediction: If I Stay vs. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

#2 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Look for the two-time reigning champ, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (read our review) to finish in second place. The heroes in a half shell have taken some observers by surprise by grossing a strong $124 million at the time of this writing. The 56.5 percent drop it suffered in its second weekend was fairly sizable, yet not as drastic as other summer releases this year. Despite a mixed critical reception, the film is in the good graces of moviegoers, leading to it being a lucrative holdover.

As discussed on a recent episode of the Screen Rant Underground podcast, TMNT is essentially performing the same way a new animated family-friendly film would. Since 2014 was noticeably void of such programming (How to Train Your Dragon 2 was never the breakout pundits thought it’d be), the Turtles emerged as the go-to option for kids. By filling a key niche in the marketplace, we think the movie will find more success this weekend – especially since its target audience doesn’t have many other options.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Reviews TMNT 2014 Box Office Prediction: If I Stay vs. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

#3 – Guardians of the Galaxy

Our pick for third is Guardians of the Galaxy (read our review). Marvel’s latest blockbuster is having one of the best runs in an unusually rough Hollywood summer, grossing an impressive $229 million through three weeks. The combination of great reviews and positive audience word-of-mouth has endeared the project to many’s heart and that should continue this week. As in the case of TMNT, we don’t expect any of the new releases to provide much competition for Guardians, meaning that another solid weekend is likely in its future.

#4 – Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Coming in fourth should be Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. The 2005 original received a lot of attention due to the highly-stylized design and filmmaking techniques used by directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller, leading to a healthy $74.1 million domestic gross. The first Sin City even won its opening weekend by raking in $29.1 million during its first three days, but we don’t think a repeat of that is going to happen.

Arriving nine years after the first film, this sequel is heading to theaters with little-to-no buzz (either positive or negative). It seems as if they failed to strike when the iron was hot and never capitalized on the brand’s popularity with moviegoers. Estimated tracking indicates an opening weekend of only $15 million, which is far below what the original did. Even though it sports an all-star cast of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jessica Alba, and Mickey Rourke (among others), A Dame to Kill For doesn’t appear like a film audiences will be killing to see.

sin city dame kill for poster preview Box Office Prediction: If I Stay vs. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

#5 – Let’s Be Cops

Rounding out the top five should be Let’s Be Cops (read our review). The comedy only finished in third last week, but that was still good enough to be the most commercially successful new release, making $17.8 million ($26.2 million when you add Wednesday and Thursday numbers). While it isn’t going to be the breakout comedy hit of the summer, the film does provide fans of the genre with something to watch for the time being. Similar to how TMNT gives families something to check out, moviegoers interested in R-rated laughs have this playing for them.

#10 – Lucy

Our tiebreaker this week is Lucy (read our review), which came in eighth place last week.

Notes

Despite its wide release, we do not believe sports drama When the Game Stands Tall will crack the top five. Football fanatics will be drawn to its story, but this inspirational tale is not going to win over the masses. Its projected opening weekend total is currently $11 million, making it unlikely it can surpass the existing holdovers and more popular newcomers.

That’s it for this week’s breakdown.

Screen Rant Underground Logo Header Box Office Prediction: If I Stay vs. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

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):

  • Sin City: A Dame to Kill For – 2,750 theaters
  • If I Stay – 2,500+ theaters
  • When the Game Stands Tall – 2,600 theaters

Opening in theaters this week (Limited):

  • Are You Here – unspecified
  • The One I Love – 9 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 (The Expendables 3 opening): Sal reports that Chris Etrata was the winner 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 – The Expendables 3 (0)
  • #2 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1)
  • #3 – Guardians of the Galaxy (1)
  • #4 – Let’s Be Cops (1)
  • #5 – The Giver (3)
  • #10 – Hercules
  • Final Score: 6 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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