Box Office Prediction: Mockingjay Part 2 vs. The Night Before

Hunger Games Mockingjay 2 vs. The Night Before

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 Love the Coopers' 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 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 November 20 - 22, 2015.

This weekend, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 hits 4,000 theaters, The Night Before plays in 2,700 locations and Secret in Their Eyes debuts in 2,400 theaters. In limited release, Carol and Legend both play on 4 screens.

#1 - The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2

In the old days of the Box Office Battle game, this would be an automatic three points. The final installment of the mega Hunger Games franchise is a lock for the top spot this weekend. Ever since the films started being released in 2012, the series has been a box office juggernaut. It's true that the first part of Mockingjay scored the franchise's lowest opening weekend by a considerable margin ($121.8 million, after the first two entries made north of $150 million), but franchise fatigue is hardly an issue here.

The end of Katniss Everdeen's war against the Capitol is one of the year's biggest movie events, and the early reviews have been positive, painting Part 2 as a satisfying conclusion. Projections currently have the film pegged for an opening weekend of $120 million, and it will become one of 2015's highest-grossing movies without question. This is a brand that has universal appeal and one of the industry's biggest stars in Jennifer Lawrence headlining. The Hunger Games is in great shape.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 - Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss

#2 - The Night Before

Coming in a distant second should be The Night Before, the new Christmas comedy starring Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The film's promotional campaign has made sure to highlight some of Rogen's past hits, such as Neighbors ($150.1 million) and This is the End ($101.4 million). While that's a smart business strategy, it doesn't seem like The Night Before is going to be able to reach those heights.

That's nothing against its appeal. The holiday setting is timely and its setup of three longtime buddies getting together for one last wild Christmas party should attract groups of friends looking for a laugh (it's been a while since there was a hit comedy). Still, it's going to have its hands full "competing" against The Hunger Games, even if the reviews are mostly positive. Tracking currently has it set for around $16.5 million in its first three days, which would hardly be a disappointment.

#3 - Spectre

Our choice for third is Spectre (read our review). The latest James Bond film repeated as box office champ last week with $33.6 million, but its time at the top is about to come to an end. There's obviously no way it can hang with The Hunger Games, and with Mockingjay taking so much business this week as the go-to blockbuster, Spectre's fall from #1 could be a little steeper than one would think. It's managed to hold well, so things aren't going to turn into a disaster overnight, but the marketplace can hold only one "event" film at a time. James Bond had his moment in the sun, and the odds are no longer in his favor.

Spectre: Should Daniel Craig return as James Bond

#4 - The Peanuts Movie

Our pick for fourth is The Peanuts Movie (read our review), which came in second last week with $24 million. The new cinematic adventure for Charlie Brown and friends has had a nice box office run so far, and even though there are a number of high-profile releases opening and playing, it still has that cross-generational appeal that will continue to bring in large crowds. It should stick around for at least another week.

#5 - Secret in Their Eyes

Rounding out the top five should be Secret in Their Eyes, a new thriller starring Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, and Chiwetel Ejiofer. That's a loaded cast, but it won't do much to help the film's commercial prospects. Marketing for this one has been very minimal, so awareness is going to be an issue. The "smaller" movie may emerge as a counter-programming choice, but it won't be able to contend with the heavy hitters, and come and go relatively quickly. Tracking is set at $7.2 million for opening weekend.

Last Week's Recap

Our Picks:

  1. Spectre
  2. The Peanuts Movie
  3. Love the Coopers
  4. The Martian
  5. The 33


  1. Spectre
  2. The Peanuts Movie
  3. Love the Coopers
  4. The Martian
  5. The 33

Next Week: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, Creed, The Good Dinosaur, and more!

Sources: Box Office Mojo (Release Schedule) and Box Office [1], [2], [3] (Opening Weekend Projections)

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