Box Office Prediction: 'Gravity' vs. 'Runner Runner'

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 Rush'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 4th - October 6th, 2013.

This weekend, the space thriller Gravity opens in over 3,450 theaters, crime drama Runner Runner debuts in 3,000 theaters, and Metallica: Through the Never gets an unspecified nationwide expansion. Besharam debuts in a limited release of over 200 theaters on Wednesday and Pulling Strings gets a limited release of 350 theaters.


#1 - Gravity

Our choice for the top spot this weekend is Gravity. While director Alfonso Cuarón is not exactly a household name among casual moviegoers, the presence of stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney will definitely give this film a boost in awareness. Both actors have proven to be reliable box office draws in recent years. Clooney led the 2011 Oscar winner The Descendants to $82.5 million and this summer, Bullock starred in the action-comedy hit The Heat ($158.9 million).

Also helping Gravity’s chances at the box office this weekend is the overwhelming positive critical response it received after screenings at the Venice and Telluride film festivals. Many pundits have used words such as “masterpiece” to describe the final product and Gravity has also gotten some Oscar buzz leading into its theatrical release. The star power of the actors combined with great word-of-mouth (and 3D ticket prices) should be enough to beat the competition.

Sandra Bullock in Alfonso Cuaron's 'Gravity'

#2 - Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

Look for last week’s champ, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 (read our review), to fall to second. Last weekend, the animated sequel made over $34 million, which is slightly above the pace of the 2009 original. The hype of Gravity may make it tough for Cloudy 2 to repeat, but as the only option for families, it should still be a solid holdover.

#3 - Runner Runner

This week’s other major release, Runner Runner, is our pick to finish in third. While Justin Timberlake is not quite a movie star, the crime-thriller gets a major boost thanks to Ben Affleck’s recent career resurgence after The Town and Argo. While the future Batman did not direct this movie, he has certainly earned audience goodwill over the past few years and his presence may entice curious moviegoers.

But even with Affleck there, we don’t expect Runner Runner to do major business this weekend. When compared to Gravity, the early critic word-of-mouth isn’t even in the same ballpark and it faces a lot of competition – not just from Gravity, but also the well-received Prisoners and Rush. The negative reviews could be enough to scare people off and see something else. It won’t bomb, but it won’t be a massive hit either.

Ben Affleck in Runner Runner

#4 - Prisoners

Our choice for the fourth spot is Prisoners (read our review). The kidnapping drama came in second last week with a $10.8 million gross. The film has received strong word-of-mouth from critics and audiences, with Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal being tossed into the early Oscar discussion. This week’s new releases will take away some business, but Prisoners should continue to show good legs at the domestic box office.

#5 - Rush

Rounding out the top five should be Rush (read our review). Ron Howard’s Formula 1 drama only came in third last week, grossing over $10 million. Despite the presence of Marvel Cinematic Universe star Chris Hemsworth, the subject matter proved to be a tricky sell to American audiences. It seems unlikely that this sports film will have a long run in the States.

#10 - The Family

Our number ten tiebreaker for this week is The Family (read our review). The latest Robert De Niro vehicle finished last weekend in seventh place.


Due to the nationwide expansion being unspecified, we cannot say for certain that Metallica: Through the Never will finish in the top five. Also hurting that film’s chances is the amount of competition combined with the fact that concert movies are built for niche audiences and do not have mainstream appeal.

That's it for this week's breakdown.


Screen Rant Underground Podcast

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):

  • Gravity - 3,450+ theaters
  • Runner Runner - 3,000 theaters
  • Metallica: Through the Never - unspecified expansion

Opening in theaters this week (Limited):

  • Besharam - 200+ theaters (on Wednesday)
  • Pulling Strings - 350 theaters

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 (Rush opening): Sal reports that Adel was the winner with a score of 12.

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 - Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 (3)
  • #2 - Prisoners (1)
  • #3 - Rush (1)
  • #4 - Don Jon (1)
  • #5 - Insidious Chapter 2 (1)
  • #10 - Riddick
  • Final Score: 7 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

Source: Box Office Mojo (Release Schedule)

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