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 Mad Max: Fury Road'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 22 - 25, 2015.
This weekend, sci-fi fantasy Tomorrowland opens in 3,800 theaters and horror remake Poltergeist plays in an unspecified number of locations. In limited release, we have Aloft and When Marnie Was There on an unspecified number of screens.
#1 - Tomorrowland
Our pick for the top spot this week is Brad Bird's latest film, Tomorrowland. The fan-favorite filmmaker has had a very consistent career box office wise, turning in hits in both animation (The Incredibles; $261.4 million) and live-action (Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol; $209.3 million). It shouldn't come as any surprise that Disney has been using those two titles heavily in their marketing push for Tomorrowland, giving casual audiences something familiar to latch on to as they try to sell this non-franchise movie. Not only that, the trailers and TV spots have teased a fun, rollicking adventure that's fit for the whole family.
From where we stand, the Mouse House's efforts will pay off in another hit for the studio. Early tracking currently has Tomorrowland pegged for a $44 million opening weekend, which is in the ballpark of how Interstellar debuted last year. A great benefit to the film is the presence of star George Clooney, who remains a solid box office draw with successes like Gravity ($274 million) under his belt as recently as a couple of years ago. Plus, the initial wave of reviews have been generally positive (even if they're not as sparkling as Bird's previous films). All in all, this should be a crowd pleasing summer movie that finds its way at the top of the charts.
#2 - Mad Max: Fury Road
Our pick for second once again is Mad Max: Fury Road (read our review), which finished in this spot last week with an impressive $45.4 million. Thanks to near universal acclaim and an enthusiastic audience response, the post-apoclyptic flick should be able to have strong legs and hold very well in its second weekend. For what it's worth, it's already besting Pitch Perfect 2 in the daily grosses, illustrating that it has a powerful pull with moviegoers eager to see what all the hype is about. As it has achieved the status of a "must see on the big screen" cinematic event, we have to think Mad Max will be able to post healthy numbers once more.
#3 - Pitch Perfect 2
Look for last week's champ, Pitch Perfect 2 (read our review) to fall to third in its second weekend. The Barden Bellas had a stellar showing in the film's opening weekend with $69.2 million in its first three days and has already outgrossed its predecessor. Things seem to be going well for the movie, so why do we have it down here? The high opening totals were most likely a byproduct of the first film's passionate fan base running out to support it, and whenever something makes that much in three days, there's a drop-off the next weekend. Also, as stated above, Mad Max has begun to beat it in the daily numbers, so the widespread appeal for Pitch Perfect may be limited when compared to other options. It will still do fine business, but it may begin to slide down the charts.
#4 - Poltergeist
It's the "challenger" in our header, but we're picking Poltergeist to open in fourth place this weekend. It may be a remake of a popular horror film from the 1980s (the original brought in $76.6 million in 1982), but one has to wonder how it will fare against several high-profile releases. Early reviews haven't exactly been glowing, and the film lacks real A-list star power that would excite casual viewers to check it out. Yes, horror movies typically bring in big crowds when they come out, but there are so many other titles playing that have generated better word-of-mouth, it remains to be seen if Poltergeist can break out of the niche. Projected at $34 million in its first three days, the film will do fine on its own, but may struggle against the competition.
#5 - Avengers: Age of Ultron
Rounding out the top five should be Avengers: Age of Ultron (read our review). There isn't much to be said about Marvel's latest $1 billion smash. The film remains a popular pick with moviegoers and should have another solid weekend.
Last Week's Recap
We got the top three spots correct, but were a little off with the last two. We had thought The Age of Adaline and Hot Pursuit would be fourth and fifth, respectively. However, it ended up being Hot Pursuit and Furious 7.
Next Week: Aloha, San Andreas and more!