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 Ender’s Game‘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 November 8th – November 10th, 2013.

This weekend, comic book sequel Thor: The Dark World opens in over 3,800 theaters and 12 Years a Slave and About Time see unspecified nationwide expansions. The Armstrong Lie gets an unspecified limited release, The Book Thief debuts in 4 theaters, and The Starving Games also opens in an unspecified limited release.

#1 – Thor: The Dark World

The easy pick for first place this weekend is the new Marvel movie, Thor: The Dark World. In 2011, the first Thor grossed over $181 million (including $65.7 million opening weekend), but that was before The Avengers set records last summer. Now coming off the success of the team-up film, the second solo outing for the God of Thunder is poised to do better business than its predecessor. Also, all previous Marvel Cinematic Universe films opened first at the box office.

Marvel is testing new ground here by opening the film during the fall, but that will not have any negative impact on its box office totals. Outside of Iron Man, Thor is arguably the studio’s most popular character and the marketing campaign has highlighted fan-favorite Loki’s major role in the movie. There are plenty of reasons for hardcore fans and casual moviegoers to be excited. The only thing open for debate (in regards to the sequel’s box office) is how high it will open.

#2 – Ender’s Game

Our choice for second place is last week’s champ, Ender’s Game (read our review). The adaptation of the bestselling novel made over $27 million last week, which is a solid – but not terrific – debut. With Thor: The Dark World opening, this film will almost certainly see its numbers come down a bit. While it will be difficult for Ender’s Game to have strong legs during its theatrical run (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens in two weeks), it still performed well enough in its first three days for us to think it will hang in there for another weekend.

#3 – 12 Years a Slave

Coming in third should be Steve McQueen’s slavery drama 12 Years a Slave (read our review). After spending the past few weeks in a limited release, the Oscar contender finally expands nationwide on Friday. Despite playing in hundreds of theaters (compared to the competition’s thousands) in the early stages of its release, the film has done remarkable well at the box office. Last week – in 410 locations – it finished seventh with $4.7 million. With awards buzz and positive word-of-mouth fueling it, 12 Years a Slave should see a huge boost in its numbers this weekend, as more people get their opportunity to see it.

#4 – Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

Our pick for fourth place is Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (read our review). The comedy has shown strong legs at the box office, grossing over $20 million last weekend. It will lose the younger demographic to Thor: The Dark World, but it’s still an option for fans of raunchy R-rated comedy and should continue to bring in the money.

#5 – Last Vegas

Rounding out the top five should be Last Vegas (read our review). The “Hangover for old people” opened with $16.3 million last weekend. Thanks to good audience word-of-mouth, analysts are predicting a healthy run for the comedy. Being one of the few options for the older crowd will also help it maintain its spot in the top five.

#10 – Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

Our tiebreaker pick this week is Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 (read our review). The animated sequel finished last week in eighth place.

That’s it for this week’s breakdown.

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):

  • Thor: The Dark World – 3,800+ theaters
  • 12 Years a Slave – unspecified nationwide expansion
  • About Time – unspecified nationwide expansion

Opening in theaters this week (Limited):

  • The Armstrong Lie – unspecified
  • The Book Thief – 4 theaters
  • The Starving Games – 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 (Ender’s Game opening): Sal reports that James is the winner with 11 points.

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 – Free Birds (0)
  • #2 – Ender’s Game (1)
  • #3 – Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (1)
  • #4 – Gravity (1)
  • #5 – Last Vegas (0)
  • #10 – 12 Years a Slave
  • Final Score: 3 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)