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 The Visit‘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 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 18 – 20, 2015.

This weekend, crime drama Black Mass hits more than 3,050 theaters and young adult adaptation Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials opens in more than 3,700 theaters. In limited release, we have Everest opening in more than 500 locations, Sicario playing on 6 screens, War Pigs debuting in 10 theaters, Captive playing in over 800 theaters, and About Ray and Katti Batti opening on an unspecified number of screens.

#1 – Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

Our pick for first is Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, which is the sequel to last year’s successful young adult novel adaptation. The first Maze Runner film had a decent box office performance, grossing $102.4 million for its domestic run ($32.5 million of that was made in its opening weekend). While that is clearly nothing to sneeze at, it shows that the appeal for this property is not the same as a Harry Potter or Hunger Games, and it may struggle to break beyond the (admittedly large) YA niche as it hits theaters.

But it doesn’t look like Scorch Trials will have any problems in its road to the top spot. Coming out in just the perfect time, the film is projected to make $48 million in its first three days. That’s a considerable increase from the first film’s debut, and in the past few weeks a number of films have underperformed expectations. However, Scorch Trials is poised to break that trend and be a solid earner. It’s even getting a small assist from the critics’ reviews, which consider the second installment an improvement over its predecessor (even if it doesn’t reach the heights of similar titles).

maze runner scorch trials trailer Box Office Prediction: Maze Runner: Scorch Trials vs. Black Mass


#2 – Black Mass

Coming in second should be Black Mass, a crime drama about the life of infamous Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger. The film’s star, Johnny Depp, has had a cold streak recently, most recently as this year’s Mortdecai which made $7.6 million for its entire theatrical run. However, things are shaping up to be a little different this time around for the A-lister. The film’s trailers have generated a lot of excitement for the actor’s transformative performance as Bulger, and Deep is even generating some (extremely) early Oscar buzz for his turn. That alone (aside from its fascinating narrative) is enough to draw people in.

As such, Black Mass should be a nice comeback role for Depp. It’s currently projected to bring in $21 million opening weekend, and with the preliminary reviews as good as they are, it should be able to reach that figure easily. It’s true that the R-rating will limit is overall appeal, but gangster pics have been a staple of Hollywood for decades and remain very popular with mainstream audiences. Even if this film doesn’t quite reach the incredibly high bar set by some of the genre’s elite, it’s emerging as one of the buzz-worthy titles of the fall and should find success commercially.

#3 – The Perfect Guy

Look for last week’s champ, The Perfect Guy, to fall to third in its second weekend. The film has already had a profitable run, making $25.8 million in its first three days to eclipse its $12 million production budget. That’s a great start, but Perfect Guy hardly has the level of awareness as the higher-profile movies that are opening this week, so its time at the top will be short.

perfect guy trailer michael ealy Box Office Prediction: Maze Runner: Scorch Trials vs. Black Mass


#4 – The Visit

Our pick for fourth is The Visit (read our review), which came in second last week with $25.4 million. As we said in last week’s recap, that’s actually one of the smallest openings for an M. Night Shyamalan film, but given the stature of this movie (and its $5 million) budget, it was a huge victory. Still, it seems unlikely The Visit can generate strong legs to be one of the better holdovers of the season. Horror flicks typically see a substantial decrease after they open, and The Visit did not have the widespread appeal some of his other projects have had in years past. Regardless, it’s a profitable endeavor.

#5 – A Walk in the Woods

Rounding out the top five should be A Walk in the Woods. The film finished in fourth last week with $4.7 million and continues to be a solid counter-programming option for older moviegoers looking for a change of pace.

Last Week’s Recap

Our Picks:

  1. The Visit
  2. The Perfect Guy
  3. War Room
  4. Straight Outta Compton
  5. A Walk in the Woods

Actuals:

  1. The Perfect Guy
  2. The Visit
  3. War Room
  4. A Walk in the Woods
  5. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Next Week: Hotel Transylvania 2, The Intern and more!

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