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 Dirty Grandpa‘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 29 – 31, 2016.

This weekend, Kung Fu Panda 3 plays in 3,955 theaters, Fifty Shades of Black debuts in 2,075 locations, The Finest Hours opens in 3,143 theaters, and Jane Got a Gun plays in 1,210 theaters.

#1 – Kung Fu Panda 3

Coming in first should be Kung Fu Panda 3, the latest film from DreamWorks Animation. While previous installments have been successful, interest in the property seems to be diminishing. In 2008, the first movie brought in $215.4 million domestically. Oddly enough, the sequel saw greatly diminishing returns, making just $165.2 million in the States. Kung Fu Panda 2 even failed to win its opening weekend, getting blown out by The Hangover Part II by nearly $40 million. They say to never underestimate family films at the box office, but for some reason, the demand for more Kung Fu Panda just isn’t there.

Even if the third film continues the franchise’s downwards trajectory, things shouldn’t be as bad. Releasing at the tail end of January ensures that there is limited competition, particularly for the target demographic. Throw in the fact that early reviews have been mostly positive, this should be an appealing option for families looking for a fun time at the movies. Coming five years after its predecessor, Kung Fu Panda 3 isn’t exactly striking when the iron is hot, but it’s still a recognizable brand that should bring in a decent crowd. Projections have it pegged for a $51 million opening.

kung fu panda 3 poster trailer Box Office Prediction: The Revenant vs. Kung Fu Panda 3


#2 – The Revenant

Look for last week’s champ, The Revenant (read our review), to fall to second this week. The Oscar contender has put together a phenomenal run given its hard R rating and subject matter, raking in $124.2 million domestically as of this writing. While it should continue to post healthy numbers, there’s no way it can contend with an animated kids film, which decidedly is more mainstream. For adults without any kids, however, there aren’t many suitable options out there.

#3 – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Our pick for third is Star Wars: The Force Awakens (read our review), which came in second last weekend with $14 million. Business for the space opera has begun to cool down a bit, but it’s still one of the box office’s top earners – despite being in theaters for over a month. It keeps chugging along and has held nicely throughout its run. The arrival of Kung Fu Panda 3 may take away some of the family business that propelled it through the holiday season, but there’s still sizable interest in seeing the galaxy far, far away on the big screen.

Star Wars BB8 thumbs up Box Office Prediction: The Revenant vs. Kung Fu Panda 3


#4 – The Finest Hours

Coming in fourth should be The Finest Hours, a true story drama based on a daring Coast Guard rescue in 1952. The film gets a boost in the star department thanks to the presence of Chris Pine, who is a household name thanks to his role in the rebooted Star Trek franchise. At the same time, it looks like he needs a big series to prop him up. A number of his ventures away from the U.S.S. Enterprise haven’t been nearly as impressive. For instance, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit brought in just $50.5 million domestically two years ago. Like the leading men of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, true A-list status has eluded Pine.

That most likely won’t change with The Finest Hours. Though the film has received a visible marketing campaign, the early reviews have painted a mixed picture, which could hurt its commercial prospects. It also is not entering theaters with sizable buzz, meaning it could fall off of people’s radars. There’s a chance it could top Star Wars for third, but Force Awakens is still at the forefront of pop culture. Will the demand for Finest Hours be there? Projections estimate a $9.2 million opening weekend.

#5 – Fifty Shades of Black

Rounding out the top five should be Fifty Shades of Black, the latest parody from Marlon Wayans. Unfortunately for him, these films (which include A Haunted House), are hardly the next Spaceballs or Airplane. Critically derided, there isn’t a lot of interest in them, even when the target is something as widely mocked as Fifty Shades of Grey. In 2014, A Haunted House 2 marked a new low for the Wayans brand of comedy, making just $17.3 million. Shades of Black isn’t expected to perform much better. Tracking currently has it pegged for $8.5 million in its first three days.

Last Week’s Recap

Our Picks:

  1. The Revenant
  2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  3. Ride Along 2
  4. Dirty Grandpa
  5. The Boy

Actuals:

  1. The Revenant
  2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  3. Ride Along 2
  4. Dirty Grandpa
  5. The Boy

Next Week: Hail, Caesar! Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies, and more!

Sources: Box Office Mojo (Release Schedule), Box Office [1] [2] [3] (Opening Weekend Projections)