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 Money Monster'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 20 - 22, 2016.
This weekend, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising debuts in 3,382 theaters, The Angry Birds Movie plays in more than 3,700 locations, and The Nice Guys opens in more than 2,800 theaters.
#1 - Captain America: Civil War
We believe Captain America: Civil War (read our review) will pull off the three-peat this weekend. Since the film came out, it's been dominating the marketplace and is the obvious choice for viewers looking to see a movie. As the only true blockbuster in town for the time being, the latest from Marvel Studios has a clear path to the top spot due to how well it's holding. It has to deal with some high profile new arrivals this week, but neither of them are poised to dethrone Civil War. The superhero epic continues to post strong numbers, and there's no reason to believe it'll stop now.
#2 - Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
Our choice for second is the new comedy sequel Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. The original was a surprise hit in 2014, posting $150.1 million domestically during its run (including $49 million opening weekend). Stars Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, and Rose Byrne all return for the followup, which mixes up the formula of the first film. This time, Rogen and Efron are joining forces to take down a rowdy sorority led by Chloe Grace-Moretz. The newcomer doesn't have the best box office track record, but she is a recognizable face thanks to her role in the Kick-Ass films. And though both Rogen and Efron are coming off of disappointments like Dirty Grandpa ($35.5 million) and The Night Before ($43 million), they're still fairly reliable draws capable of attracting a sizable audience - as they did with the first Neighbors.
As such, Neighbors 2 should have a fruitful debut this weekend. The early reviews are generally positive, with the critics saying it delivers a substantial amount of humor. It's been a while since a comedy broke out (Keanu more or less came and went), so fans of the genre will be eager to check this one out for the laughs. Going up against a Marvel movie may limit the damage that Sorority Rising can do, but it should be fine on its own merits. Tracking indicates $36.5 million during the first three days, a decrease from the first film but still nothing to sneeze at.
#3 - The Angry Birds Movie
Coming in third should be The Angry Birds Movie, an adaptation of the popular app game. The animated film has enjoyed a highly visible marketing campaign, showing off a colorful cast of characters and gags that sell it as a fun time for the family. Awareness certainly is not an issue, and Angry Birds will most likely get a small boost from the early responses. It's true that the reviews aren't exactly glowing recommendations, but the consensus seems to be it's more entertaining than one would think an Angry Birds film could be, meaning those curious about it have incentive to check it out. It may not be The LEGO Movie, but it sounds like it's worth the time.
That said, Angry Birds could be facing an uphill battle. Projections have it pegged for a $39 million opening weekend, but we think it might actually score a smaller number. Its target demographic is more than accounted for thanks to the prolonged success of Zootopia and the still hot Civil War. Since Angry Birds isn't necessarily a buzz-worthy title, families may opt to either stay at home or go for one of the better-received choices. Even though Angry Birds has performed better than expected with critics, it's still on the short end compared to the competition. Being a new animated film will help, but game adaptations are notoriously lackluster at the box office, so it remains to be seen if Angry Birds can reverse the trend.
#4 - The Nice Guys
Our pick for fourth is Shane Black's latest crime comedy The Nice Guys, starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. The film has been the beneficiary of excellent reviews, with many praising the chemistry between the leads and Black's sharp script. There's no denying that Nice Guys is something of a breath of fresh air; an original R-rated buddy cop romp set in the 1970s. That alone will make it ideal counter-programming for older moviegoers looking for a movie that's different from the summer season norm. In recent weeks, marketing efforts for Nice Guys have also increased, hammering home the film's strong reception out of the Cannes Film Festival, which will only add to its appeal.
That said, Nice Guys is at a disadvantage compared to the other movies currently playing. While Crowe and Gosling are well-known amongst cinephiles, neither can qualify as a bona fide box office lock, and Black is a filmmaker with a niche audience. This could very well be his (non-Iron Man 3) breakout, but it's not going to run away with tons of dollars right out of the gate. The R rating will limit the viewership, and the holdovers present a challenge. Tracking indicates a $17 million opening weekend, which sounds just about right.
#5 - The Jungle Book
Rounding out the top five should be The Jungle Book (read our review). Jon Favreau's beloved fantasy film continues to perform well, coming in second place last week. The bevy of fresh films means it'll take a hit in business, but it's a large enough hit to hang around the top of the charts for one more week.
Last Week's Recap
We said that Captain America: Civil War would see a second weekend decrease of around 55 percent. In actuality, it was 59.5 percent.
Next Week: X-Men: Apocalypse, Alice Through the Looking Glass, and more!