Box Office Prediction: Free Fire vs. Fate of the Furious

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 The Fate of the Furious' opening weekend, and scroll to the bottom of this post to see how our picks matched 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 April 21 - 23, 2017.

This weekend, Free Fire opens in 1,070 theaters, The Promise debuts in 2,251 theaters, Unforgettable premieres in 2,417 locations, Phoenix Forgotten plays in 1,592 theaters, and Born in China opens in 1,508 locations.

#1 - The Fate of the Furious

The easy pick for first is The Fate of the Furious (read our review), which soared to the top spot last week with an impressive $98.7 million haul. It has taken full advantage of a fairly barren marketplace, riding the series' widespread popularity to success in the early part of its run. Though there are a bevy of new releases this weekend, Fate is basically running unopposed and has a clear path to the #1 position, given its status as one of 2017's biggest blockbusters so far. It would be a tremendous surprise if the movie was knocked off its perch now, since it is still the film with the highest-profile currently playing. Despite a less enthusiastic critical reception when compared to its predecessors, audiences remain interested in this lucrative property.

#2 - The Boss Baby

Coming in second should be The Boss Baby (read our review), which came in this spot last week with $16 million. The latest from DreamWorks Animation has proven to be a hit within the family demographic, bringing in $122.8 million domestically over the course of more than three weeks. Boss Baby more or less has a monopoly on its target audience, since there's little else playing for the juice box crowd at this point in time (besides Smurfs, which was a non-starter). Though business is starting to slow down for it after a large opening, Boss Baby should have another fruitful weekend.

#3 - Beauty and the Beast

Our pick for third is Beauty and the Beast (read our review). There isn't much left to be said about Disney's commercial juggernaut, other than the fact that it's remained a force to be reckoned with for over a month now. The Mouse House positioned it in a place to excel, and it's certainly thrived. Beauty is still drawing sizable crowds six weeks into its run and isn't showing many signs of slowing down.

Emma Watson as Belle in Beauty and the Beast

#4 - Unforgettable

We believe the new thriller Unforgettable will come in fourth during its opening weekend. The film is headlined by a pair of recognizable names in Rosario Dawson and Katherine Heigl, giving it star power to boost awareness for it. It's worth noting that the reviews have been widely poor, which threatens to hurt Unforgettable's commercial prospects, but it could still find an audience regardless. Similar titles like When the Bough Breaks (which debuted with $14.2 million last year) have posted respectable numbers, meaning Warner Bros. shouldn't count their losses just yet. Unforgettable isn't going to be a crossover hit, but it could do well enough as a counter-programming option for at least a week or so - depending on how things shake out. Projections are set at $9 million for the weekend.

#5 - Born in China

Rounding out the top five should be Born in China, the newest Disney nature documentary. This "franchise" has never been much of a box office powerhouse, but the installments haven't been total bombs either. Most of them open fairly low, with $4.5 million being the debut mark for Monkey Kingdom in 2015 (the most recent release). These projects are the definition of niche, and Born in China should appeal to moviegoers who have taken a liking to the series. Coinciding the release with Earth Day and placing it in a soft spot in the schedule was probably the best way to go.


Despite it being the "challenger" in the headline, we do not believe Free Fire (read our review) will manage to crack the top five in its opening weekend. This is mostly due to its number of theaters and the fact that awareness is quite low. It's estimated to make only $3 million in its first three days, even though it's earned mostly positive reviews following its tour of the film festival circuit.

Last Week's Recap

Our Picks:

Caught up in Star Wars Celebration hype, we bypassed the box office prediction last week. For the record, we would have predicted The Fate of the Furious first.


  1. The Fate of the Furious
  2. The Boss Baby
  3. Beauty and the Beast
  4. Smurfs: The Lost Village
  5. Going in Style

Next Week: The Circle, Fate of the Furious, and more!

Sources: Box Office Mojo (Release Schedule), Box Office (Opening Weekend Projections)

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