Box Office Prediction: 'Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones' vs. 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'

Marked Ones vs. Hobbit 2

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 The Wolf of Wall Street'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 January 3-5, 2014.

This weekend, found-footage horror spin-off Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is released in 2,500 theaters.


#1 - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Look for last week’s champ, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (read our review) to come out on top again. Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth adventure has won the previous three weekends, including $29.8 million over the holiday week. So far throughout its run, it has managed to hold off the anticipated return of Ron Burgundy and five new releases on Christmas. With no major blockbuster-type film coming out this weekend, it’s very likely that the Lord of the Rings prequel continues its reign at the top of the charts with another big weekend.

Bilbo (Martin Freeman) in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

#2 - Frozen

Look for Frozen (read our review) to come in second. Disney’s animated hit has made a fantastic $248.3 million in six weeks of release, including $28.8 million last weekend. As the only kid-friendly option available for families right now, it should maintain its place and keep posting huge numbers.

#3 - Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Our choice for number three is the horror spin-off, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones. The franchise has been one of the most popular and financially successful series in the genre since the original’s debut in 2009. However, the Paranormal Activity brand doesn’t carry the same weight it once did. In 2012, Paranormal Activity 4 saw the series reach a low point with a weak $53.9 million domestic total.

Still, horror fans haven’t had a new movie to check out in a while, so it is possible that this found-footage film finds an audience. In 2012, The Devil Inside made $33.7 million after it opened in a similar timeframe. While The Marked Ones is projected to open much lower than that, it could theoretically emerge as an enticing option.

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones trailer

#4 - Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Our pick for fourth is the comedy sequel Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (read our review). The latest cinematic outing for Ron Burgundy and his news team has proven to have strong staying power, out-grossing all of the new Christmas releases last week. Comedy fans (at least – those not interested in the dark comedy of Jordan Belfort) don’t have much to choose from and that will help this movie continue to bring in the money.

#5 - American Hustle

Look for American Hustle (read our review) to round out the top five this weekend. David O. Russell’s latest awards contender has continued the director’s commercial hot streak by making over $60 million through its first two weeks of (wide) release. The con-caper will have a close fight with The Wolf of Wall Street, but Martin Scorsese’s new film finished just below American Hustle last weekend and that pattern could hold. The Wolf of Wall Street has a three-hour run time (which limits the number of screenings a theater can show throughout the day) and the tale of stockbrokers-gone-wild has generated a mixed reaction from audiences due to its extreme content – which could make American Hustle the more “accessible” R-rated crime dramedy of the season.

#10 - 47 Ronin

Our tiebreaker this week is 47 Ronin (read our review). The new Keanu Reeves vehicle has been a major disappointment, making only $20.6 million since its release on Christmas.


That's it for this week's breakdown.


Screen Rant Underground Podcast

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):

  • Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones - 2,500 theaters

Opening in theaters this week (Limited):

  • N/A

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 (The Wolf of Wall Street's opening): Sal reports that Cathy G. won with a score of 10.

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 - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (3)
  • #2 - The Wolf of Wall Street (0)
  • #3 - Frozen (1)
  • #4 - The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (0)
  • #5 - Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (0)
  • #10 - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
  • Final Score: 4 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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