Box Office Prediction: 'Ouija' vs. 'Nightcrawler'

Ouija vs. Nightcrawler

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 Ouija'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 31 - November 2, 2014.

This weekend, crime drama Nightcrawler opens in 2,800 theaters, horror film Saw gets a tenth anniversary re-release of 1,850 theaters, and thriller Before I Go to Sleep debuts in over 1,700 locations. In limited release, Horns plays on an unspecified amount of screens.


#1 - Ouija

Look for last week's champ, Ouija (read our review), to repeat this weekend. Typically, horror movies see a significant drop-off during their second weekend, but this should be an exception to that rule. We've been saying in this space all month that spooky films are at an advantage due to the Halloween holiday, and that is this Friday. Without much in the way of competition, Ouija should emerge as the go-to pick for moviegoers looking for a scare or two. Its legs may not extend beyond that, but for now, it should be solid.

Shelly Henning in 'Ouija' (2014)

#2 - Nightcrawler

Our pick for second is Nightcrawler. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, who isn't known for overly-impressive box office hauls, but he has starred in a few mid-level hits throughout his career, including last year's Prisoners ($61 million). Despite getting positive early reviews, it doesn't appear that this film will be a big breakout either. Tracking projects an opening weekend of just $11 million, indicating a lack of buzz surrounding the project.

Still, that critical reception should play somewhat into its favor, as moviegoers uninterested in board game adaptations may seek Gyllenhaal's film out as counter-programming. Plus, dark, gritty crime films usually play well for adult audiences and one only has to look as recently as Gone Girl for proof of that. Nightcrawler won't reach the heights of David Fincher's film, but it should perform well enough for itself (at least in the early going).

#3 - John Wick

Coming in third should be John Wick (read our review). The action-throwback vehicle for Keanu Reeves entered theaters with a lot of excitement, but failed to parlay that into hefty box office numbers, totaling just $14.1 million during its first three days. Usually, we'd say that the strong word-of-mouth would give the film a good chance of holding well, but Nightcrawler is going to be going after a similar demographic, meaning John Wick could fall down the charts. Curious moviegoers will still seek it out to give it some profits, but not enough for it to maintain its standing.

#4 - Fury

Our pick for fourth is David Ayer's World War II drama Fury (read our review). While the film's $13 million gross in its second weekend (good enough for third) isn't anything to sneeze at, it does illustrate that the movie somewhat lacks the mainstream interest to make it a certified hit a la Gone Girl. Brad Pitt is a star and Ayer is prepping DC's Suicide Squad adaptation, so Fury should still be a top pick amongst moviegoers. The overall reception is too positive for it to fall out of the top five completely, so here it will remain for at least one more week.

Fury Movie Reviews (2014)

#5 - Gone Girl

Rounding out the top five should be Gone Girl (read our review). David Fincher's latest has had a noteworthy run throughout the month, making more than $124 million domestically at the time of writing this. Its time in the top five may be coming to a close, but Oscar buzz, audience word-of-mouth, the popularity of the source material, and A-list star power will help Gone Girl to continue to post healthy numbers.

#10 - Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Our tiebreaker this week is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (read our review), which came in seventh place last week.


Before I Go to Sleep is one of this weekend's new wide releases, but it doesn't appear to be big enough to crack the top five. Early projections aren't even available for it (a rarity), which probably means it's not poised to break the bank. Plus, its release of only 1,700 locations puts it at a disadvantage, since most of the wide movies are playing in a considerably higher number of theaters.

Saw does rank as one of the most popular modern horror franchises, but there shouldn't be too much fanfare surrounding the tenth anniversary re-release this weekend. Coinciding with Halloween may seem like a wise business decision, but it's only projected to bring in $5 million for the weekend. We guess people would rather just watch it at home.

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):

  • Nightcrawler - 2,800 theaters
  • Saw (10th anniversary re-release) - 1,850 theaters
  • Before I Go to Sleep - 1,700+ theaters

Opening in theaters this week (Limited):

  • Horns - unspecified

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 (Ouija opening): Sal reports that Jones won with a perfect 15.

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 - John Wick (1)
  • #2 - Ouija (1)
  • #3 - Fury (3)
  • #4 - Gone Girl (3)
  • #5 - The Book of Life (3)
  • #10 - The Judge
  • Final Score: 11 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); Box Office [1], [2], [3] (Opening Weekend Projections)

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