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 SpongeBob Movie'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 February 13 - 15, 2015.
This weekend, romance drama Fifty Shades of Grey opens in over 3,600 theaters and the spy action-thriller Kingsman: The Secret Service debuts in 3,100 locations. In limited release, Old Fashioned plays on more than 200 screens and The Last Five Years is in an unspecified number of locations.
#1 - Fifty Shades of Grey
Coming in first this week should be Fifty Shades of Grey, the film adaptation of the best-selling book by E.L. James. Though it's not expected to be a critical darling, the fact that its source material was a worldwide phenomenon just a few years ago makes it very likely that the film can find considerable commercial success. The novel's wide fan base has been anticipating this movie since it was announced, and advanced ticket sales are some of the highest in history - all of which are positive developments for its chances.
As a result of the hype, Fifty Shades is currently projected to gross $89 million in its first three days, which would rival the record-shattering debut that American Sniper had last month and be one of the most lucrative debuts for an R-rated film. With couples looking for a steamy option on Valentine's Day, this film should have a clear pathway to the top spot - especially with sequels on the way.
#2 - Kingsman: The Secret Service
In what should be a tight race for second, we're giving the edge to new arrival Kingsman: The Secret Service. The film is directed by Matthew Vaughn, whose last film, X-Men: First Class, was a box office hit at $146.4 million. Marketing for Kingsman has hammered that point home, so audiences have some sort of familiarity to associate with the somewhat obscure comic book on which it is based. Also helping is a strong cast that includes Oscar-caliber thespians like Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson.
While Kingsman may not prove to be popular enough to hang with Fifty Shades, it should do fine on its own merits and is on track to gross $32 million this weekend. Early reviews for the movie have praised it for being a fun and irreverent entry into the spy genre, and the trailers have put an emphasis on the project's heavily-stylized action and sense of humor. Serving as counter-programming for male moviegoers this week should be beneficial, and Kingsman can become a solid February hit.
#3 - The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water
Our pick for third is last week's champ, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (read our review), which made $55.3 million in its first three days. Given that families have so few options right now, there's a chance that it could overtake Kingsman for the second spot, but we believe it will have to settle for third. The reasoning for that is the fact that the first SpongeBob movie (which came out in 2004) did not hold well; opening in second before falling to fifth in its second weekend. And even though this week's buzzed-about new flicks aren't direct competition for it, SpongeBob may struggle to keep up with them as audiences check out some high-profile releases.
#4 - American Sniper
Our pick for fourth is American Sniper (read our review), which continues to rack up the box office dollars. The Best Picture contender made $23.2 million last week, which was good enough for second place. Now that it's been out for a while, business is going to start to die down, but it remains a viable commercial force thanks to the positive word-of-mouth and awards consideration it has received since being released. Older moviegoers who are not interested in Fifty Shades or Kingsman could opt for this old school war drama, which is another factor that might keep it in the top five for at least another week.
#5 - Jupiter Ascending
Rounding out the top five should be Jupiter Ascending (read our review). The latest sci-fi epic from the Wachowskis had trouble leaving much of an impact during its opening weekend, as it only grossed $18.3 million domestically. And with the reviews as poor as they are, it's very unlikely that the film can find the strong legs it needs to be a successful holdover. A considerable drop-off for the film is coming, but it opened big enough last week that even the fall shouldn't be that drastic to knock it out of the top five completely.
Last Week's Recap
We got the first four films correct, but there was the slightest of deviations when it came to the fifth-placed movie. We had picked Paddington for that spot, but the family film barely lost to Project Almanac, spoiling our chances at a perfect week.
Next Week: Hot Tub Time Machine 2, MacFarland, USA, and more!