Box Office Prediction: 'The Maze Runner' vs. 'A Walk Among the Tombstones'

Maze Runner vs. Walk Among Tombstones

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 No Good Deed'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 19 - 21, 2014.

This weekend, young-adult adaptation The Maze Runner hits 3,500 theaters, comedy This is Where I Leave You opens in over 2,750 theaters, and action flick A Walk Among the Tombstones debuts in 2,500 locations. On the limited front, we have The Guest opening in 19 theaters, Hector and the Search for Happiness and Tracks both seeing four screens, and Tusk plays in more than 500 locations.


#1 - The Maze Runner

Our pick for first this week is The Maze Runner. Many would agree that the box office has been dead for weeks, and this young-adult adaptation looks to give it new life. While it's not expected to reach the soaring heights of Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, many project that the film will do just fine on its own. With its "best-selling novel" appeal, the film already has a built-in fan base eager to see their favorite story unfold on the big screen, and early tracking indicates a solid $30 million opening weekend.

Some will point to the fact that several recent similar titles have failed to justify their transition from page to screen, but we think things will be different this time around. The marketplace is barren of programming for this demographic and early reviews have been leaning towards the positive side of the spectrum. It may not win over any converts, but The Maze Runner seems set to be the clear winner this week.

#2 - A Walk Among the Tombstones

Our choice for second this week is Liam Neeson's new film A Walk Among the Tombstones. Featuring the fan-favorite actor in another no-nonsense action role, the movie is relying on the thespian's brand to carry it to box office gold. That strategy has worked as lately as this February, when Non-Stop debuted with $28.8 million en route to a $91.7 million intake.

That said, Neeson's non-Taken outings have been arguably hit-or-miss. In 2012, The Grey only managed $51.5 million and his role as the villain in this May's A Million Ways to Die in the West couldn't help that comedy surpass $42.7 million. That raises some questions about his drawing power. Tombstones is currently projected to make $14 million, making it unlikely that it joins the ranks of his commercial hits. There's undoubtedly an audience for this, it's just not the wider mainstream.

#3 - This is Where I Leave You

Coming in third should be This is Where I Leave You. It is directed by Shawn Levy, who has had a majority of his outings gross over $20 million in their opening weekends. This comedy doesn't appear to be one of them, given that it is a smaller production than Levy's Night at the Museum smashes or 2011's Real Steel. Early tracking says that This is Where I Leave You will make about $12 million during its first three days, which is even below his Google advertisement flop from last year, The Internship. That doesn't seem like the recipe for a breakout hit.

This Is Where I Leave You cast

#4 - No Good Deed

Look for last week's champ, No Good Deed (read our review), to fall to fourth in its second weekend. The Idris Elba-led thriller managed to take advantage of a moviegoing public desperate for something fresh, leading to an impressive $24.2 million opening weekend. It may have done good business the first three days, but Deed is not going to have strong legs.

First, it received a poor critical reception, meaning word-of-mouth won't be there. There's also three new wide releases - all of which have received fairly visible marketing campaigns, giving viewers several options to choose from. Chief among them will be Tombstones, whose similar target audience will take away a lot of ticket sales from this film.

#5 - Dolphin Tale 2

Rounding out the top five should be Dolphin Tale 2. The sequel couldn't match what its predecessor did, and with audience interest already low, we doubt that the demand will be there during the second week. Families could keep it hanging around for the time being, but The Maze Runner is going to be a major draw for that section, while adults will choose one of the other various selections.

#10 - The November Man

Our tiebreaker this week is The November Man (read our review), which came in eighth last week.


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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 Maze Runner - 3,500 theaters
  • This is Where I Leave You - 2,750+ theaters
  • A Walk Among the Tombstones - 2,500 theaters

Opening in theaters this week (Limited):

  • The Guest - 19 theaters (on Wednesday)
  • Hector and the Search for Happiness - 4 theaters
  • Tracks - 4 theaters
  • Tusk - 500+ 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 (No Good Deed opening): Sal reports that Pixworks is the winner with a perfect 15 and the correct 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 - Dolphin Tale 2 (1)
  • #2 - No Good Deed (1)
  • #3 - Guardians of the Galaxy (3)
  • #4 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (3)
  • #5 - If I Stay (0)
  • #10 - The Giver
  • Final Score: 8 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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