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 Need for Speed'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 March 21 - 23, 2014.
This weekend, young adult adaptation Divergent opens in 3,800 theaters and family comedy Muppets Most Wanted debuts in 3,000 theaters. God's Not Dead debuts in 780 locations, 50 to 1 gets a limited release of 18 theaters, Blood Ties and Nymphomaniac: Volume 1 are released in 25 theaters, and Bad Words gets an unspecified expansion.
#1 - Divergent
Our choice for the top spot this week is the latest young adult adaptation Divergent. Based on the worldwide best seller, the film is currently projected to post numbers similar to the first Twilight film, which made $69.6 million during its opening weekend. It appears to be tracking so well with audiences, that Lionsgate has already set release dates for two sequels in 2015 and 2016 – which indicates that there’s a demand for the property.
Last year’s non-Hunger Games young adult adaptations did not perform well at the domestic box office, but there are reasons to believe Divergent could be different. Oscar winner Kate Winslet and up-and-comer Shailene Woodley headline the cast. While neither actress has a spotless box office track record (Woodley was in The Descendants in 2011, but George Clooney was the main draw), they are both recognizable names that could encourage curious moviegoers to check this one out. There’s a chance Divergent could continue the trend of YA flops, but the evidence is hard to ignore.
#2 - Muppets Most Wanted
Coming in second should be Muppets Most Wanted. The sequel to 2011’s The Muppets is poised to the next big family hit and should function as appealing counter-programming for those uninterested in Divergent. The previous film in the franchise had success going against the first Breaking Dawn adaptation, so there’s some precedent to that belief.
Grossing $88.6 million in the States, the series relaunch showed that there was still a sizable audience for Jim Henson’s beloved characters. The first movie was marketed more as an event capitalizing on the nostalgia for the Muppets, whereas Most Wanted is being sold as another zany Muppet adventure (which could lower the demand or interest) and early reviews are not as overwhelmingly positive as they were in the case of The Muppets. However, the brand is popular enough that it should be another financially successful outing for Kermit and friends.
#3 - 300: Rise of an Empire
Our choice for third is 300: Rise of an Empire (read our review). The action sequel made $19.2 million last week, finishing in second place. With two movies (Muppets and Mr. Peabody) fighting for the same audience, it will open an opportunity for this film to finish ahead of the holdover, since it is one of the few action films currently playing.
#4 - Mr. Peabody and Sherman
Look for last week’s champ, Mr. Peabody and Sherman (read our review), to drop to fourth this week. Surprisingly finishing in first during its second week, the animated film from DreamWorks should see a decrease in business, since it will be competing with the arrival of Muppets Most Wanted.
#5 - Need for Speed
Rounding out the top five should be Need for Speed (read our review). Despite starring Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul, the video game adaptation disappointed last week with a third place finish ($17.8 million opening weekend). Interest in the film is not high, so we doubt it will have very strong legs.
#10 - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Our tiebreaker pick this week is Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. Even though it is only playing in a limited number of locations, it is performing strongly on a per-theater basis. Finishing in eighth place last week with $3.6 million, it should continue to draw in the indie/art house crowd.
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):
- Divergent - 3,800 theaters
- Muppets Most Wanted - 3,000 theaters
Opening in theaters this week (Limited):
- God's Not Dead - 780 theaters
- 50 to 1 - 18 theaters
- Blood Ties - 25 theaters
- Nymphomaniac: Volume 1 - 25 theaters
- Bad Words - unspecified expansion
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 (Need for Speed's opening): Sal reports that PeterGecko won 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 - Need for Speed (0)
- #2 - 300: Rise of an Empire (3)
- #3 - Mr. Peabody and Sherman (0)
- #4 - Tyler Perry's Single Moms Club (1)
- #5 - Non-Stop (1)
- #10 - 3 Days to Kill
- Final Score: 5 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)