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 Rio 2'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 April 18 - 20, 2014.
This weekend, sci-fi film Transcendence opens in over 3,400 theaters, horror spoof A Haunted House 2 debuts in 2,400 theaters, nature documentary Bears opens at 1,600 locations, and religious drama Heaven is for Real is released in 2,300 theaters (on April 16). In limited release, Make Your Move will play in 135 theaters.
#1 - Rio 2
Our choice for the top spot is the animated sequel Rio 2 (read our review). The daily winner last Friday, this family film had a tight battle with Captain America: The Winter Soldier before coming up just short. Finishing in second with $39.3 million during its opening weekend, we think there’s a chance this movie beats out the Marvel machine this week. Transcendence is opening, and while that original sci-fi work is not projected to open with high numbers, it will still tap into the main audience for The Winter Soldier, which will take away business. If that happens, Rio 2 could sneak into first place.
#2 - Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Look for two-time champ, Captain America: The Winter Soldier (read our review) to fall to second during its third weekend. While the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been extremely lucrative during its domestic run ($158.8 million accumulated at the time of this writing), last week’s close showdown with Rio 2 indicates that continued demand for Steve Rogers and friends may not be as high as expected. With Transcendence targeting a similar demographic, there’s a chance Cap’s numbers fall a bit, causing it to slip out of the top spot.
#3 - Transcendence
This week’s high-profile release, Transcendence, is our choice for third place. While the original sci-fi concept will be intriguing to some, it doesn’t appear it’s connecting with the masses on the level of something like Inception (despite the presence of A-list talent and a healthy marketing push). Tracking numbers are low for a film like this, with early estimates peaking at $21 million.
One would expect that having a movie star on the level of Johnny Depp would guarantee box office gold, but that’s not necessarily the case here. The actor has starred in his fair share of massive hits (Pirates of the Caribbean and Alice in Wonderland chief among them), but lately he’s seen his market value fall. Depp’s last two starring vehicles, The Lone Ranger ($89.3 million) and Dark Shadows ($79.7 million) were considered domestic flops. It’s true that seeing him not wear white makeup will be refreshing to most moviegoers, but that didn’t exactly help The Tourist ($67.6 million) sell more tickets. Still, Depp has his followers and the sci-fi genre is popular enough to suggest this will post decent numbers.
#4 - A Haunted House 2
Coming in fourth should be A Haunted House 2. The first installment in this parody series grossed just over $40 million in the States, opening with an $18.1 million weekend. This isn’t the sequel comedy fans have been clamoring for, so the chance it becomes a mainstream hit are low. However, the last one still made a solid amount, so it’s clear there’s an audience for the franchise.
#5 - Oculus
Rounding out the top five should be Oculus (read our review). The horror film made over $12 million during its opening weekend. It won’t have strong legs like The Conjuring last year, but it’s the only option for horror fans right now, so that target audience will help it stick around for at least another week.
#10 - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Due to it opening on Wednesday, April 16, we cannot say with certainty that Heaven is for Real will finish in the top five. Since it will debut before the weekend, there’s a chance those interested in the film will go see it before Friday. Also, it has received very little marketing, so it doesn’t arrive in theaters with the same level of awareness as its competition.
The nature documentary Bears could be a popular pick for families, but it is not playing in enough theaters (only 1,600) to leave a dent at the box office. Depending on how successful it is, it could emerge as a suitable tiebreaker, however.
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):
- Transcendence - 3,400+ theaters
- A Haunted House 2 - 2,400 theaters
- Bears - 1,600 theaters
- Heaven is for Real - 2,300 theaters (on Wednesday)
Opening in theaters this week (Limited):
- Make Your Move - 135 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 (Rio 2's opening): Sal reports that Gracey and Insufferable Deadpool both tied with a perfect 15 each. However, Insufferable Deadpool is the official winner by virtue of the tiebreaker.
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 - Captain America: The Winter Soldier (3)
- #2 - Rio 2 (3)
- #3 - Oculus (3)
- #4 - Draft Day (3)
- #5 - Noah (3)
- #10 - Sabotage
- Final Score: 15 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)