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 Pixels 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 July 31 – August 2, 2015.

This weekend, action sequel Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation opens in 3,800 theaters and comedy reboot Vacation debuts in more than 3,250 locations. In limited release, we have Listen to Me Marlon, Best of Enemies, End of the Tour, and A LEGO Brickumentary all playing on an unspecified number of screens.

#1 – Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

The easy pick for the top spot this week is Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, the fifth installment in the long-running action franchise. The last time Ethan Hunt and his team went on an adventure, it was one of their most lucrative yet, as Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol grossed $209.3 million in the States. It’s safe to say the series is the beneficiary of some audience goodwill as this new movie approaches theaters; with the marketplace coming off of a down week, moviegoers appear to be in the mood for some blockbuster entertainment.

It looks like that’s exactly what they’re going to get in Rogue Nation. The film is already generating much critical acclaim, with many critics saying it’s the best M:I to date. Thanks to that positive word-of-mouth and a marketing campaign that’s highlighting all the explosive action and insane stunts fans have come to associate with the brand. Analysts currently have it pegged for a $60 million opening, which would be the best debut in the franchise. Taking everything into consideration, all signs are pointing to Rogue Nation being on top.

Mission Impossible 5 plane stunt Box Office Prediction: Mission: Impossible 5 vs. Vacation

#2 – Vacation

Our pick for second is Vacation, a revival of the iconic comedy film series made famous by National Lampoon. It’s important to note that the film actually opens on Wednesday, July 29, meaning that the demand for it may have decreased a bit by the time the weekend rolls around. Still, there’s enough working in its favor to suggest Vacation will be a respectable hit this week. Given the brand association of something like Vacation, many moviegoers should be curious to see what this is all about.

Though the film isn’t winning critics over, it should still be able to tap into its target demographic and be successful. The marketing campaign has been amusing, playing into some meta humor that suggests this reboot won’t be as cynical as other franchise revisits. Plus, star Ed Helms was a lead figure in the blockbuster Hangover series, meaning he might be able to give Vacation some extra appeal. Current projections are indicating a $27 million opening, which would be a nice figure when it’s all said and done.

#3 – Ant-Man

Look for last week’s champ, Ant-Man (read our review), to fall to third in its third weekend. The film managed to hold off the competitors last week, but posted a “low” gross of $24.9 million. Even with the Marvel named attached, this is not going to become a runaway success a la Guardians of the Galaxy last year. Still, the studio has to be happy with its performance, and the film’s positive reception will keep it around the top of the charts for at least another week.

ant man deleted opening scene Box Office Prediction: Mission: Impossible 5 vs. Vacation

#4 – Minions

Our pick for fourth is Minions (read our review). Universal’s animated smash finished in third last week with $22.9 million. Business is starting to slow down a bit, but families are still enjoying the movie and will continue to come out and support it.

#5 – Pixels

Rounding out the top five should be Pixels (read our review). Adam Sandler’s new vehicle is struggling commercially, as the retro gaming comedy mustered a weak $24 million in its opening weekend. It’s hard to see how it can turn things around, with the word-of-mouth being downright poisonous and the arrival of a new Mission: Impossible coming to satisfy our action craving. Chalk this one up as a loser for Happy Madison.

Last Week’s Recap

We were way off (recall our disclaimer up top!). The underperformance of new arrivals Pixels and Paper Towns killed our predictions, as the early tracking numbers were greatly different from the actual figures. We did not get a single spot correct, which illustrates how bad last week was. Here’s to better predictions this weekend.

Next Week: Fantastic Four, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, and more!

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

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