Box Office Prediction: 'Riddick' vs. 'Lee Daniels' The Butler'

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 Getaway'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 September 6th - September 8th, 2013.

This weekend, the sci-fi sequel Riddick opens in 2,800 theaters. The Ultimate Life opens in a limited release of 400 theaters and Salinger debuts in an extremely limited release of 4 theaters.


#1 - Riddick

Look for this week’s only new wide release, Riddick, to win the weekend. The first two films in this franchise were only moderately successful at the box office ($39.2 million for Pitch Black and $57.7 million for The Chronicles of Riddick), but the series has achieved cult status over time and this third installment is expected to perform well commercially.

A major selling point for the new film is the increased star power of Vin Diesel. Thanks to the massive success of Fast Five ($209.8 million) and Fast and Furious 6 ($238.6 million), Diesel is a marketable name (with 46+ million Facebook fans) that gives Riddick a boost. The R rating may limit its potential audience, but the presence of a bona fide action star and a strong marketing campaign should help this film finish on top.

Vin Diesel as Riddick in 'Pitch Black'

#2 - Lee Daniels' The Butler

Lee Daniels’ The Butler (read our review) should see its three-week reign at the top of the box office end this weekend. The historical drama won the Labor Day weekend by grossing $20.2 million to increase its domestic total to $79.4 million (at the time of this writing). As one of the few films on the market receiving any kind of Oscar buzz, it should still continue to draw in adult audiences before the rest of the awards contenders make their way into theaters.

#3 - One Direction: This Is Us

Our choice for third place is the 3D concert One Direction: This Is Us. Fans of the boy band came out in full force last weekend as it grossed $18.4 million during its first four days. That makes it one of the more successful theatrical concert openings, but due to its limited appeal, it is unlikely This Is Us has strong legs at the box office.

#4 - We're the Millers

Coming in fourth should be the comedy hit We’re the Millers (read our review). The Jason Sudeikis/Jennifer Aniston vehicle has held extraordinarily well, grossing an astonishing $109.6 million over the course of its run. Despite being in theaters for over a month and receiving a mixed critical reaction, the film is still managing to bring people in thanks to strong word-of-mouth amongst audiences.

Jennifer Aniston in We're the Millers

#5 - Planes

Rounding out the top five should be Disney’s Planes (read our review). The animated film – which was once set for a direct-to-DVD release – has proven to be successful in theaters. So far, it has made $70.8 million and continues to have a monopoly on the family market. It should continue to perform strongly in that demographic – as there is still some time before Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 comes out.

#10 - The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Our number ten tiebreaker is the young adult fantasy adaptation The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (read our review), which finished last week in seventh place. Sony/Screen Gems had hoped this would be the start of a new franchise, but with a low $22.9 million domestic intake through two weeks, it appears as if the sequel will never be made.

That's it for this week's breakdown.


Screen Rant Underground Podcast

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):

  • Riddick - 2,800 theaters

Opening in theaters this week (Limited):

  • The Ultimate Life - 400 theaters
  • Salinger - 4 theaters

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 (Getaway opening): Sal reports that RealChadSchultz was the winner with 9 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 - Lee Daniels' The Butler (3)
  • #2 - We're the Millers (1)
  • #3 - Getaway (0)
  • #4 - One Direction: This Is Us (0)
  • #5 - The World's End (0)
  • #10 - Elysium
  • Final Score: 4 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)

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