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 Gone Girl'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 10 - 12, 2014.
This weekend, horror/action hybrid Dracula Untold debuts in 2,800 theaters, family film Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day opens in 3,000 locations, and drama The Judge plays in more than 2,700 theaters. In limited release, Addicted opens in 800 locations, Kill the Messenger screens in more than 350 theaters, St. Vincent debuts on four screens, and Whiplash gets an unspecified release.
#1 - Gone Girl
Look for last week's champ, Gone Girl (read our review), to come out on top again in its second week. Engaging in a tooth-and-nail fight with Annabelle last week, David Fincher's latest squeaked out the victory by tallying $37.5 million during its first three days. Given the film's positive reception from both critics and moviegoers, we expect it to hold well as other viewers go to see what all the buzz is about. With its pedigree, it's being discussed as an early Oscar contender (especially for Rosamund Pike), meaning curious moviegoers have even more incentive to check it out.
Typically, non-blockbuster type films struggle to repeat in first place, but Gone Girl could very well be the exception to that rule. None of this week's new releases are generating much excitement (more on that in a minute), and this twisted drama has been a talking point since it came out last Friday. With all the interest still surrounding it, there's a good chance it remains at the top of the charts.
#2 - Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Coming in second should be the new family film Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, which is based on the famous book of the same name. We've said several times in this space during 2014 that the youngsters haven't had much to choose from, and while Alexander doesn't look like it's going to be a breakout hit, it should still do very solid business with such limited competition.
Its projected opening weekend of $17 million is actually the highest among this week's newcomers, and having big names like Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner in the cast will add to the appeal of the source material. Plus, early reviews have been positive as well. It should be in good shape.
#3 - Annabelle
Our pick for third is Annabelle (read our review), which hung in valiantly with Gone Girl to make $37.1 million in its opening weekend. So why do we have Fincher's film at the top and this horror spin-off here? Because traditionally, movies in this genre take a big hit in their second weekend - especially when word-of-mouth isn't entirely positive, which is the case here. Annabelle received poor marks from pundits, making a Conjuring-esque run unlikely. It should continue to play well given Halloween is so close, but don't expect it to have strong legs.
#4 - The Judge
Our pick for fourth is the new legal drama The Judge. Projected for a $15 million opening weekend, the film should get a bit of a boost thanks to the presence of Robert Downey Jr., who has been a major box office star for a handful of years now. His roles in both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Sherlock Holmes films have showcased him as a bankable name capable of posting big numbers. Even the 2010 comedy Due Date made over $100 million.
While RDJ is a fan-favorite, it's unlikely that The Judge becomes his next commercial success. Early reviews haven't been too positive, and that mixed reception will be a hurdle it has to clear. Also playing against it is the somewhat confusing marketing campaign. The first trailer sold the film as a drama with comedic elements, but certain TV spots have played like a comedy with dramatic elements. Adult moviegoers looking for a nice father-son relationship story will check this out, but it doesn't seem to be a mainstream hit.
#5 - Dracula Untold
Rounding out the top five should be Dracula Untold. Universal is hoping that this can be the launching point for its new shared movie monster universe, but in these early stages, the Marvel comparisons stop right there. Even with the prospect of crossovers with other horror icons, audiences don't seem too excited about the vampire origin tale. Tracking currently projects an opening weekend of just $12 million, which is not what the studio is hoping for.
Not helping is the fact that the initial response for the film is largely negative, with even the favorable write-ups not serving as full endorsements. A Dracula movie certainly has potential during this particular time of year, but it doesn't look as if this is the one to break the bank. The public's lack of interest and the poor critical reception means it has a steep uphill climb as it tries to generate interest in Universal's monsters. Since it's a new release and we're a few weeks away from Halloween, we're giving it some benefit of the doubt, but it wouldn't be completely surprising to see it fail to reach this spot.
#10 - This is Where I Leave You
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):
- Dracula Untold - 2,800 theaters
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - 3,000 theaters
- The Judge - 2,700+ theaters
Opening in theaters this week (Limited):
- Kill the Messenger - 350+ theaters
- St. Vincent - 4 theaters
- Addicted - 800 theaters
- Whiplash - unspecified
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 (Gone Girl opening): Sal reports that Jones won with a score of 11 and a perfect tiebreaker.
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 - Annabelle (3)
- #3 - The Equalizer (3)
- #4 - The Maze Runner (1)
- #5 - The Boxtrolls (1)
- #10 - Guardians of the Galaxy
- Final Score: 11 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