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 The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ 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 January 2 – 4, 2015.

This weekend, horror sequel The Woman in Black: Angel of Death opens in 2,200 theaters. In limited release, crime drama A Most Violent Year hits an unspecified number of screens.

#1 – The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Look for the two-time reigning champ, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (read our review), to come out on top once again this weekend. Peter Jackson’s grand Middle-earth finale has received a mixed response critically speaking, but the prospect of returning to the world one last time is apparently too good to pass up. The film grossed $40.9 million during its second weekend, which is only a 25.2 percent decrease from its opening frame. With the week’s lone wide release not proving to be much of a threat, the third Hobbit film should have a clear path to first place.

hobbit battle five armies martin freeman ring Box Office Prediction: The Hobbit 3 vs. The Woman in Black 2

#2 – Into the Woods

Coming in second should be Into the Woods (read our review). Disney’s musical was the most successful of the new Christmas releases, making more than $31 million last weekend. Thanks the the Mouse House branding and PG rating, it’s probably looked at as the most family suitable option that’s currently playing; and the fairy tale mashup narrative gets people’s attention as well. As awards buzz continues to build for it, Into the Woods should hold well in the coming weeks.

#3 – Unbroken

Continuing our theme where last week’s results are this week’s predictions, we believe Unbroken (read our review) will come in third, after finishing there last week with $30.6 million. Angelina Jolie’s World War II drama got a so-so reception from the critics, but the true story of Louis Zamperini has proven to be a great crowd-pleaser, with audiences flocking to see this inspirational tale of perseverance. It’s not getting the Oscar talk as other titles from this season, but that doesn’t matter in this case; Unbroken should continue to draw viewers in, especially in a week where there’s nothing high-profile opening.

unbroken movie preview Box Office Prediction: The Hobbit 3 vs. The Woman in Black 2

#4 – Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

Our pick for fourth is Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (read our review). The family sequel hasn’t been as successful as other entries in the franchise, but it’s still holding well (relatively speaking). The film grossed $20.2 million in its second weekend, which is actually an increase from what it did during its first three days. Part of that could be attributed to it being Christmas weekend, but it’s still a sign that there’s an audience for Night at the Museum.

#5 – The Woman in Black: Angel of Death

Rounding out the top five should be The Woman in Black: Angel of DeathThe horror film is a sequel to 2012’s The Woman in Black, which made $20.8 million in its debut, en route to a $54.3 million domestic total. Without star Daniel Radcliffe returning, the followup isn’t expected to perform nearly as well, with early tracking indicating an opening weekend in the range of $9.5 million.

Despite that working against it, we think Angel of Death should be able to find its way into the top five. Horror movies have a knack for opening strong during the first weekend of January, and it’s been a while since fans of the genre have had anything to go see. It may not become a crossover mainstream hit, but Woman in Black 2 should do solid business on its own to post somewhat respectable numbers.

Last Week’s Recap

Into the Woods Movie Emily Blunt James Corden Box Office Prediction: The Hobbit 3 vs. The Woman in Black 2

When we say predicting the box office isn’t an exact science, Christmas weekend is Exhibit A for what we mean. A few of our predictions last week were off, as The Hobbit managed to repeat despite the blitz of several new arrivals, which caused Into the Woods to finish second (we had them swapped around). The Gambler never did find an audience, only managing a seventh-place finish and Annie overcame the extremely negative buzz to round out the top five (when we thought it would fall out).

But Unbroken came in third where we said it would! So we have that going for us.

That’s it for this week’s breakdown. Make sure to check back later this week for the official box office results!

Agree or disagree with our predictions? Which five films do you think will top the box office this weekend? Share your own picks in the comments section below!

Next Week: Taken 3, Selma and more!

Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90

Source: Box Office Mojo (Release Schedule) and Box Office (Opening Weekend Projections)

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