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 Maze Runner‘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 September 26 – 28, 2014.

This weekend, action flick The Equalizer hits over 3,000 theaters and family film The Boxtrolls plays in more than 3,300 locations. On the limited front, we have Mas Negro Que La Noche playing in 150 theaters, The Song debuting in over 300 theaters, and The Two Faces of January playing on an unspecified number of screens.

#1 – The Equalizer

Our pick for first this week is The Equalizer. Thanks to positive test screenings, there is a lot of excitement surrounding this film, with early projections at $38 million. Not only has it seemingly won over audiences, it also features actor Denzel Washington reuniting with his Training Day director Antoine Fuqua. When those two teamed up for that crime story in 2001, it was a big success, winning Washington a Best Actor Oscar while bringing home $76.6 million in ticket sales.

While the awards buzz might not be there this time around, The Equalizer should definitely see similar results commercially. It doesn’t hurt that Washington remains a viable box office draw late into his career, as several of his recent performances (including Flight and 2 Guns) have illustrated that audiences remain fans of his work. Plus, the movie is receiving a generally favorable response from pundits, as most of the early reviews have skewed towards the positive side of things. The Equalizer is arguably the season’s first must-see film, and its star power behind and in front of the camera will help it get there.

The Equalizer Denzel Washington Interview Box Office Prediction: The Maze Runner vs. The Equalizer

#2 – The Maze Runner

Look for last week’s champ, The Maze Runner (read our review) to fall to second this week. Opening at $32.5 million, the young adult adaptation debuted stronger than some similar titles, but failed to reach the soaring heights of The Hunger Games. With The Equalizer set for a big opening, it seems unlikely that this film will have lengthy legs at the box office. Those who love the source book series will continue to support it, but its mixed word-of-mouth will prevent it from repeating at #1.

#3 – The Boxtrolls

Coming in third should be The Boxtrolls. While they’re no Pixar or DreamWorks, animation studio Laika has forged a very respectable reputation for itself, with a number of solid hits including Coraline ($75.2 million) and ParaNorman ($56 million) under its belt. Since the family-friendly market segment has been starved for a great portion this year, you’d think that a new offering from them would be welcome, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Tracking currently projects that The Boxtrolls will see a $13 million opening weekend, which is actually in line with other releases by the company. That does seem low for a film of this kind, but Laika is not as big a brand as their contemporaries and there is little buzz surrounding this project. It’ll post solid numbers due to the lack of competition, but don’t expect it to be a breakout hit.

#4 – This is Where I Leave You

Our pick for fourth is This Is Where I Leave You (read our review). It may not have crossed into the mainstream like director Shawn Levy’s other films have, but it still attracted enough moviegoers to make $11.5 million during its first three days. It’s not going to break the bank, but it should continue to be a nice piece of counter-programming, serving as an option for viewers looking for something a little smaller. Because of that, it will probably hold better than other releases last week and remain in the top five.

Jason Bateman in This Is Where I Leave You Box Office Prediction: The Maze Runner vs. The Equalizer

#5 – A Walk Among the Tombstones

Rounding out the top five should be A Walk Among the Tombstones (read our review). Audiences like Liam Neeson taking names and killing bad guys, but it looks like they’re tiring of it. Making just $12.7 million during its opening weekend, the actor’s drawing power took a significant hit and circumstances make it tough to see this one sustaining a long run. The Equalizer is going after same exact demographic (with another fan-favorite big screen veteran in the lead) and has a lot more buzz than Tombstones ever did. Look for Neeson’s latest to take a major fall in its second week.

#10 – Let’s be Cops

Our tiebreaker this week is Let’s be Cops (read our review), which came in seventh last week.

Screen Rant Underground Logo Header Box Office Prediction: The Maze Runner vs. The Equalizer

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):

  • The Boxtrolls – 3,300+ theaters
  • The Equalizer – 3,000+ theaters

Opening in theaters this week (Limited):

  • Mas Negro Que La Noche – 150 theaters
  • The Song – 300+ theaters
  • The Two Faces of January – 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 Maze Runner opening): Sal reports that Roderick is 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 Maze Runner (3)
  • #2 – A Walk Among the Tombstones (3)
  • #3 – This Is Where I Leave You (3)
  • #4 – No Good Deed (3)
  • #5 – Dolphin Tale 2 (3)
  • #10 – The November Man
  • 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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