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 Age of Adaline'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 May 1 - 3, 2015.
This weekend, superhero sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron debuts in 4,200 theaters. In limited release, Far From the Maddening Crowd plays in 9 locations, while Welcome to Me opens in an unspecified number of theaters.
#1 - Avengers: Age of Ultron
In the old days of the Box Office Battle game, we would say that certain titles are an "automatic three points," indicating that they were a definitive lock to finish in the top spot of a given weekend. That term applies to few films more than Avengers: Age of Ultron, which is set to kickoff a highly-anticipated summer movie season with a bang. Three years after shattering the opening weekend record with $207.4 million, the follow-up is poised to do the same. Early tracking indicates that the second outing for Earth's Mightiest will have an even more lucrative first three days, with projections currently at $214 million.
This shouldn't be very surprising to anybody. The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to be a juggernaut in the entertainment industry, with 2014 being one of their most successful years yet. Capitalizing on that forward momentum should be a breeze, as The Avengers remains the studio's most commercially viable franchise and the marketing campaign has been kicked into high gear, sending audiences into a frenzy as they await the return of Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, and company. The film is already doing great business overseas, so it should be the same story here in North America.
#2 - Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2
Once again, our pick for second is Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (read our review), which made $14.7 million last week to finish in this spot. While it was still behind Furious 7, we think it will be able to leapfrog the action flick this time out, seeing as that Age of Ultron will be after a similar demographic as the one that helped Dom Toretto and his family achieve unprecedented success at the box office over the past month. While there may still be some audiences interested in going for another ride with that crew, the presence of Avengers should "benefit" some of the smaller films that are still playing, this being one of them.
#3 - Furious 7
After spending the entire month of April in the top spot, Furious 7 (read our review) will definitely be dethroned this weekend. As we said earlier, with Avengers opening and taking over several screens nationwide, this film will see a considerable decrease in business after holding well for so long. Of course, this doesn't really matter to Universal, who have already seen their investment join the $1 billion club. Anything else now is just gravy. Furious 7 had a great run, but now it's time for its reign to end.
#4 - The Age of Adaline
Our pick for fourth is The Age of Adaline (read our review), which opened with $13.2 million last weekend, which was good enough for a fourth place finish. As those figures would indicate, there's not much demand for this smaller romance drama, but it should still be able to hang around the top five for at least one more week. It could prove to be a solid counter-programming option for those looking to avoid the super heroics of the Avengers - and play well to that segment of moviegoers searching for something more low-key.
#5 - Home
Rounding out the top five should be Home (read our review). The latest from DreamWorks Animation continues to post healthy numbers at the box office, earning $8 million last week to increase its domestic total to $153.4 million. Yes, Avengers will certainly have family appeal, but this animated film is still one of the few movies out there that's suitable for moviegoers young and old, so it will continue to draw in some crowds for at least one more week.
Last Week's Recap
It was a solid week for our predictions. Though we were off on Ex Machina (predicted: third; actual: sixth), the rest of our picks turned out OK. We correctly picked the final spots for Furious 7, Paul Blart 2, and Unfriended. The Age of Adaline came in third (when we thought it'd be fourth).
Next Week: Avengers: Age of Ultron, Hot Pursuit and more!