Box Office Prediction: 'Captain Phillips' vs. 'Gravity'

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 Gravity'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 October 11th - October 13th, 2013.

This weekend, the true-story drama Captain Phillips opens in 3,000 theaters and B-movie sequel Machete Kills debuts in 2,300 theaters. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane sees an unspecified limited release, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete sees a release of 140 theaters, and the latest version of Romeo and Juliet gets a release of 450 theaters


#1 - Gravity

Look for last week’s champ Gravity (read our review) to come out on top again this weekend. The new sci-fi thriller set October box office records during its first three days with a jaw-dropping $55.7 million gross, the highest for stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.

Receiving phenomenal reviews and terrific audience word-of-mouth, Gravity should continue to hold strongly at the domestic box office. Not only do the A-list actors bring people in, the film is also being discussed as a possible Oscar contender. As an added bonus, the film is one of those “must see in the theater” experiences where moviegoers are encouraged to see it on the biggest screen possible. Captain Phillips may be here now, but with all the hype Gravity is getting (and the price of 3D tickets), it should be the victor.

#2 - Captain Phillips

Our pick for the second spot is the new drama Captain Phillips. The film, which is based on the true story of the 2009 Somali pirate incident, features Hollywood legend Tom Hanks in the leading role. The actor is on an unusual cold streak (outside of Toy Story 3, his last film to break $100 million was 2009’s Angels and Demons), but he seems poised for a big comeback with this movie. Director Paul Greengrass has also had commercial success during his career, helming action hits The Bourne Supremacy ($176.2 million) and The Bourne Ultimatum ($227.4). The marketing materials have highlight the involvement of these two, placing Hanks front and center in all trailers and TV spots.

Also helping Captain Phillips is that it is the latest fall release to hit theaters riding a wave of Oscar buzz. Early reviews have been extremely positive, with Hanks being penciled in as a Best Actor nominee once again. We don't think it will win the weekend (with Gravity's massive opening, even if it falls a bit, it will still be a close race), but Captain Phillips should do well on its own.

#3 - Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

In the third spot should be Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 (read our review). The animated sequel came in second last week with a $20.9 million intake. Its numbers may have fallen a bit, but it will still serve as quality counterprogramming since it is the only option for families currently playing.

#4 - Machete Kills

This week’s other big release, Machete Kills, is our choice for number four. The first installment of this series opened with $11.4 million (en route to a $26.5 million domestic total) back in 2010. Robert Rodriguez’s homage to B-movies has a cult following, but it lacks the mainstream appeal necessary to become a breakout box office smash. With tracking numbers low and a ton of competition, we don’t expect this sequel to break the bank.

Danny Trejo and Michelle Rodriguez in Machete Kills

#5 - Prisoners

Rounding out the top five should be Prisoners (read our review). Last week, the film finished fourth with $5.7 million to increase its domestic total to $47.9 million. Despite boasting recognizable stars and strong reviews, the kidnapping/torture drama has seen its numbers fall quite substantially since its opening weekend. With Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance representing the film’s only real Oscar chances, it seems as if competition from the bigger contenders (Gravity, Captain Phillips) has caught up to the Hugh Jackman vehicle.

#10 - Don Jon

Our number ten tiebreaker for this week is Don Jon (read our review). Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut came in sixth last week.

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):

  • Captain Phillips - 3,000 theaters
  • Machete Kills - 2,300 theaters

Opening in theaters this week (Limited):

  • All the Boys Love Mandy Lane - unspecified
  • The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete - 140 theaters
  • Romeo and Juliet - 450 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 (Gravity opening): Sal reports that two people finished with perfect 15s, but boogoo is the winner by virtue of having a closer 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 - Gravity (3)
  • #2 - Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 (3)
  • #3 - Runner Runner (3)
  • #4 - Prisoners (3)
  • #5 - Rush (3)
  • #10 - The Family
  • 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)

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