Box Office Prediction: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' vs. 'Forrest Gump IMAX'

Guardians vs. Gump1

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 As Above/So Below'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 September 5 - 7, 2014.

This weekend, The Identical opens in 1,450 theaters. On the limited front, we have The Reimagining playing in 66 locations and Forrest Gump getting a re-release at 300 IMAX theaters.


#1 - Guardians of the Galaxy

Look for last week's champ, Guardians of the Galaxy (read our review), to come in at number one once more. There really isn't much more to be said about James Gunn's first foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe at this point. This film is huge and it's only getting bigger. Again, this weekend's new arrivals do not provide much of a challenge for Star-Lord and company, making Guardians an easy pick to repeat. Box office dollars won't go over Drax's head. He'll catch them.

David Bautista as Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy

#2 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

This weekend is shaping up to be rather slow, so our choice for second is also last week's pick for second, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (read our review). Taking advantage of a lack of family-friendly movies in the marketplace, the Michael Bay-produced reboot of the heroes in a half-shell has been one of this summer's strongest holds, making an additional $11.9 million last week. With no new challengers on the horizon, TMNT should hold on to its spot on the charts for at least one more week.

#3 - If I Stay

Our choice for third is If I Stay (read our review). The young-adult adaptation couldn't sweep up the masses like similar titles, but it has done solid business for itself, grossing $9.3 million last week - increasing its domestic total to $29.8. It'll never obtain the kind of four-quadrant appeal needed to break the bank, but covering a particular niche will ensure it continues to post healthy numbers.

#4 - Let's Be Cops

We're picking comedy Let's Be Cops (read our review) to come in fourth this week. While the film fell behind As Above/So Below during that horror flick's opening weekend, the difference wasn't that drastic ($8.6 vs. $8.2 million). Horror movies (even the successful ones) tend to see a massive drop-off during their second weekend, making it likely that this R-rated laugher can top it - given that there aren't any other major comedies playing.

Let's Be Cops Movie Reviews - New Girl

#5 - As Above/So Below

Rounding out the top five should be the aforementioned As Above/So Below (read our review). Grossing only $8.6 million during its first three days, it's clear that none of this summer's horror entries are going to reach the levels of The Conjuring. Audiences haven't shown much interest in 2014, and we've already pointed out how this genre is extremely susceptible to the second weekend blues, causing us to feel it'll slide down the charts.

#10 - The Giver

Our tiebreaker this week is The Giver (read our review), which finished in eighth place last week.


Despite being this weekend's lone wide release, we do not believe that The Identical will crack the top five. Awareness for this film is exceptionally low (did you know it was coming out?) and marketing as been non-existent. In fact, the movie is so under the radar that early projection numbers aren't even available (a rarity).  Even those who track the potential commercial success of every film that comes out doesn't know what to make of The Identical. Plus, with it playing in just 1,450 theaters, it's at a disadvantage when compared to the holdovers.

It may be the "challenger" in our headline due to its status as a classic film that many enjoy, but we don't expect the IMAX re-release of Forrest Gump to do much damage at the box office. It's only playing in 300 theaters, meaning that it won't reach a wide audience. For comparison's sake, last year's IMAX debut of Raiders of the Lost Ark brought in $3.1 million at 267 locations - so this gimmick isn't much of a draw.

That's it for this week's breakdown.


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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):

  • The Identical - 1,450 theaters

Opening in theaters this week (Limited):

  • Forrest Gump IMAX - 300 theaters
  • The Reimagining - 66 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 (As Above/So Below opening): Sal reports that Jones won with 11 points.

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 - Guardians of the Galaxy (3)
  • #2 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (3)
  • #3 - As Above/So Below (1)
  • #4 - If I Stay (1)
  • #5 - The November Man (1)
  • #10 - The Expendables 3
  • Final Score: 9 points and a perfect tiebreaker


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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