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 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 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 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 24 - 26, 2015.
This weekend, romance drama The Age of Adaline plays in 2,900 theaters, Little Boy and Ex Machina play nationwide in an unspecified number of locations, and The Water Diviner debuts in over 300 locations. Also, Adult Beginners plays in an unspecified number of screens in limited release.
#1 - Furious 7
Once again, our pick for the top spot is Furious 7 (read our review), which hasn't slowed down since breaking April records when it was released earlier this month. The action sequel finished first for the third consecutive week last weekend with $29.1 million and has now increased its domestic total to $296.5 million. There isn't much left to say about it's commercial prospects. Audiences have responded well to it and with no real competition coming until next week, it should have an easy path to another victory.
#2 - Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2
Our choice for second again is Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (read our review), which came in this spot last week with $23.7 million. That was a considerable drop-off from how the 2009 original debuted, meaning that it's unlikely this sequel has long-term success at the box office. However, if Blart is to have a strong second week, this is the time to do it. The only new wide releases are relatively smaller films that haven't received much marketing, so this holdover is arguably more visible than anything fresh that's playing - despite the awful critical reception it has received.
#3 - Ex Machina
Coming in third should be Ex Machina, the sci-fi film that is expanding nationwide after playing in 39 theaters last week. It's difficult to say exactly how the movie will perform with more screens available, but there are some positive signs at this stage. First, the reviews for the film have been very strong, with critics saying that it's full of interesting ideas and engages audiences with its concepts. For an indie project like this, that's certainly a step in the right direction when it comes to generating buzz. Interest in the movie seems to be there.
Plus, Ex Machina is grossing solid numbers in its limited release. Last week it grossed $798,661, which is good enough for a $20,478 per theater average. Those figures are usually indicative of how a limited film like this will play to a wider audience, which means Ex Machina is set to have a very respectable week should that success carry over. It may not break into the mainstream, but the film should do well on its own as moviegoers look for something new to check out.
#4 - The Age of Adaline
Our pick for fourth is The Age of Adaline, a new romance drama starring Blake Lively. The actress has never been a major box office draw, and it's unlikely that those fortunes get reversed in this film. Adaline has not received a strong advertising campaign, so awareness within casual audiences could be an issue in its opening weekend. It's true that early reviews so far have generally been positive, but that doesn't look like it will be enough to help the film become a big hit. Tracking has it projected to make just $11 million during its opening weekend, which is usually enough to clinch one of these bottom spots, but means crossover success is implausible.
#5 - Unfriended
Rounding out the top five should be Unfriended (read our review), which came in third during its opening weekend with $15.8 million. For an original horror film with a limited target audience, that's a nice debut - but the overall public consensus was that it wasn't worth moviegoers' time (even though critics generally enjoyed it). That response coupled with the fact that niche genre pictures like this typically see a big decrease in their second weekend means the chances Unfriended gets strong legs are not good. It debuted high enough to stay in the top five for one more week, but its time is coming to en end.
Last Week's Recap
We correctly predicted the top five for the week.
Next Week: Furious 7, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and more!