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 Hateful Eight‘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 January 1 – 3, 2016.

This weekend, The Revenant expands to more than 3,000 locations and The Forest debuts in 2,300 theaters.

#1 – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Once again, our choice for the top spot is Star Wars: The Force Awakens (read our review). The film has been an unstoppable force at the box office, besting Avatar‘s all-time domestic record in just 20 days of release. Star Wars 7 has been selling tickets at an unprecedented rate since it came out, and is showing now signs of slowing down. It made an impressive $90.2 million in its third weekend last week, indicating that it’s holding extremely well amidst minimal competition. It’s so far ahead of the other films that are playing, that it would take a massive drop for Force Awakens to be knocked off its perch, and that’s not happening this week.

Star Wars 7 Character Guide Finn Rey Box Office Prediction: Star Wars 7 vs. The Revenant

#2 – Daddy’s Home

Coming in second should be Daddy’s Home (read our review), which has emerged from the blitz of holiday releases as the biggest non-Star Wars movie of the season. The film has been able to appeal to audiences with its comedic “dad vs. stepdad” setup, making $29.2 million last weekend. When compared to some of the other offerings out there (which are more adult-orientated awards contenders), Daddy’s Home reaches out to the widest demographics as a light-hearted fun time at the theater. Even if the reviews aren’t the strongest, that alone will keep it near the top of the charts.

 

#3 – The Revenant

As it expands nationwide, we believe The Revenant will come in third this week. The drama is the latest film from Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu, who despite the awards pedigree is not exactly a box office draw. Last year’s Best Picture winner is his highest-grossing movie to date with just $42.3 million. While nobody is expecting The Revenant to break any records, it should be able to top that figure. With Fox backing, the film has received a fairly visible marketing campaign, meaning awareness should not be a real issue. In addition, star Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the industry’s biggest stars; his last vehicle, The Wolf of Wall Street, brought in over $100 million. His presence always helps a film’s commercial prospects.

The Revenant has also been a buzz-worthy film as it approaches its wide release not only due to the Oscar factor, but also the troubled production in extreme cold temperatures. Cinephiles will have a watchful eye on the end result to see if it was all worth the hassle. While the film certainly won’t be for everyone, it has enough going for it that it should be able to put together a respectable box office run, especially since it’s up for a handful of Golden Globes.

revenant trailer leonardo dicaprio1 Box Office Prediction: Star Wars 7 vs. The Revenant

#4 – The Hateful Eight

Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight (read our review) is our pick for fourth. The film went wide last week and managed to finish in third place with $15.7 million. It’s becoming clear that this does not have the crossover appeal of a Django Unchained or Inglourious Basterds, even if film buffs find plenty to appreciate in the Western. While it may not be a runaway commercial smash, Tarantino is still a big name that can bring in large crowds, and his fan base is widespread enough that Hateful Eight should continue to do solid business as it continues its run. Some people will be curious to see what all the controversy is about.

#5 – The Forest

Rounding out the top five should be The Forest, a new horror film that stars Game of Thrones‘ Natalie Dormer. Films in this genre typically do well in their opening weekend, but The Forest is at a bit of a disadvantage. Not only is Star Wars still the major point of conversation, more high-profile Oscar contenders are beginning to go wide, and The Forest has not put together the greatest marketing campaign. Moviegoers have their eyes set on so many other titles this week, that this smaller horror flick will probably go under the radar. It’s projected for just an $8 million debut.

Last Week’s Recap

Our Picks:

  1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  2. The Hateful Eight
  3. Daddy’s Home
  4. Joy
  5. Sisters

Actuals:

  1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  2. Daddy’s Home
  3. The Hateful Eight
  4. Sisters
  5. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip

Next Week: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Ride Along 2, Norm of the North, and more!

Sources: Box Office Mojo (Release Schedule), Box Office (Opening Weekend Projections)

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