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 Dracula Untold'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 17 - 19, 2014.
This weekend, war film Fury debuts in over 3,000 theaters, animated movie The Book of Life opens in 3,000 locations, and romantic drama The Best of Me plays in 2,600 theaters. In limited release, we have Birdman playing on four screens, Camp X-ray opening in one location, Dear White People receiving an unspecified release, and St. Vincent getting an unspecified expansion. Also, Men, Women and Children gets a nationwide expansion this weekend.
#1 - Fury
Our pick for the top spot this week is Fury, the new film by David Ayer. Earlier this year, the filmmaker released the Arnold Schwarzenegger throwback vehicle Sabotage, which was a box office bomb at $10.5 million domestically for its entire theatrical run, but we think Ayer's second offering of 2014 will be a little different. Star Brad Pitt is much more bankable than Arnold at this point in their careers (his World War Z grossed $202.3 million in the U.S. alone), and war dramas remain a popular option for moviegoers - especially World War II.
Early reviews to this point have skewed towards the positive side of the spectrum, another element that has helped Fury's projected opening weekend total reach $25 million. It may not be generating the type of Oscar buzz that other releases this fall are, but it's still in the discussion, and if word-of-mouth continues to favor it, people will show up. Ayer worked up some goodwill in 2012 with End of Watch ($41 million) and now he looks ready for a big mainstream breakout.
#2 - Gone Girl
Look for the two-time defending champ, Gone Girl (read our review) to slide to second in its third weekend. Engaging in another close fight with a horror-based genre picture, the latest David Fincher thriller emerged victorious with $26.8 million last week. Fury will no doubt take out a chunk of Gone Girl's adult-orientated audience, but we suspect the film will remain a viable choice thanks to its positive word-of-mouth and multitude of hot talking points it brings up. With some new competition, it will start to slide down the charts, but it shouldn't be too drastic just yet.
#3 - The Book of Life
Coming in third should be The Book of Life. As most people know, the marketplace hasn't been too kind to family-friendly offerings this year (LEGO Movie aside), and each one that comes out is hoping to be the one that finally breaks the bank. We think this film will do fine business on its own, but as for becoming a crossover smash, it probably won't reach those kinds of numbers. Early tracking indicates a $15 million weekend, which is below what The Boxtrolls brought in last month. The youngsters could turn out for this one, but it most likely won't be staying around for a while.
#4 - Dracula Untold
Our pick for fourth is Dracula Untold (read our review), which managed to exceed expectations (including ours) and make $23.4 million during its first three days. Still, this doesn't mean that audiences are ready to embrace Universal's shared monster movie universe at this stage in the game. Looking at the daily numbers, Dracula took a big dive between last Saturday and Sunday; from $8.7 to $5.8 million. This indicates that word-of-mouth isn't exactly positive, which hurts the film's long-term prospects. Since Halloween is only a couple weeks away, moviegoers looking for a scare could still turn out, but this is another candidate for the infamous second weekend blues.
#5 - Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Rounding out the top five should be Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (read our review). The adaptation of the famous children's book grossed $19.1 million during its opening weekend, which is a decent total for a film of this kind. The combination of the film's star power and the popularity of the source material should keep it around for at least another week, but The Book of Life is targeting the same demographics, which would lower the demand for Alexander. Like most family movies this year, it doesn't look to be a clear winner.
#10 - Addicted
Our tiebreaker this week is Addicted, which came in seventh last week.
Despite being the third major release of the weekend, we do not expect The Best of Me to crack the top five. Projected for only an $11 million opening weekend, those numbers do not inspire confidence to give it one of those slots. There's certainly a demographic for this film (date night), but mainstream audiences most likely isn't it. The other new releases and existing holdovers are all much more visible than this romantic drama, which will make it difficult to draw people in.
Jason Reitman has achieved box office success, particularly early in his career with Juno and Up in the Air - something that may incline some to place his Men, Women and Children in the top five. However, this does not appear to be his comeback film. The movie probably isn't on many people's radars after it failed to build up buzz during limited engagements the previous two weeks. Older moviegoers have plenty of other, better-received options to choose from.
Finally, we would like to remind our readers that Birdman is only playing in four locations this week, making it impossible for the meta-comedy to make the top five or even work as a tiebreaker. It is generating a lot of interest due to its overwhelmingly positive reviews and awards buzz, but it won't be a commercially viable product until it goes wide. Fox Searchlight may choose to give it an expansion eventually (given its presence at New York Comic-Con), but for now it's just very limited.
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):
- Fury - 3,000+ theaters
- The Book of Life - 3,000 theaters
- The Best of Me - 2,600 theaters
- Men, Women and Children - unspecified nationwide expansion
Opening in theaters this week (Limited):
- Birdman - 4 theaters
- Camp X-ray - 1 theater
- Dear White People - unspecified
- St. Vincent - 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 (Dracula Untold opening): Sal reports that there was a tie between roderick and Chase M., who both had perfect 15s and equal tiebreakers.
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 - Gone Girl (3)
- #2 - Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (1)
- #3 - Annabelle (1)
- #4 - The Judge (1)
- #5 - Dracula Untold (0)
- #10 - This is Where I Leave You
- Final Score: 6 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