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 Hot Pursuit'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 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 May 15 - 17, 2015.
This weekend, post-apocalyptic action film Mad Max: Fury Road opens in more than 3,550 theaters and musical/comedy Pitch Perfect 2 debuts in over 3,400 locations. In limited release, we have The Connection, I'll See You in My Dreams, and Where Hope Grows playing on an unspecified number of screens, and Good Kill opening in 2 theaters.
#1 - Pitch Perfect 2
Our pick for the top spot this week is newcomer Pitch Perfect 2, the sequel to the surprise hit from a few years back. The 2012 original didn't post astronomical numbers in the States, but its $65 million domestic haul (part of a $113 million worldwide haul) was certainly impressive for the little comedy about an acapella group trying to make it big. In the years since, the film has become a fan-favorite (thanks to the screen presence and charm of stars Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson), which means that there are many looking forward to the follow-up. And if the constant marketing campaign is anything to go by, awareness will definitely not be an issue.
Early tracking currently has Pitch Perfect 2 on pace for a $49 million opening, which is considerably higher than the figure the original posted when it went wide in October 2012 ($14.8). Not only that, the critical response so far has been generally positive, with many calling it a fun ride (even if it doesn't reach the heights of its predecessor). That can only help its prospects with casual audiences, and Pitch Perfect 2 should become one of the premiere counter-programming options of the summer. Universal knows this one is a winner.
#2 - Mad Max: Fury Road
The choice for second this week is Mad Max: Fury Road, which has been building up audience anticipation ever since it blew the Comic-Con crowd away last summer. Thanks to a very impressive advertising campaign that shows off the film's impressive visuals and grand scope, the movie almost demands that viewers go see it on the biggest screen possible. Not only that, the early reviews have been pristine, with many critics considering it one of the best flicks of the year. That's the kind of buzz an R-rated apocalyptic thriller like this needs in order to put together a successful box office run.
The original Mad Max films starring Mel Gibson in the 1980s were never among that era's box office elite (Beyond the Thunderdome topped out at $36.2 million), but there's reason to believe this will be different. The presence of well-liked actors like Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron (both of whom have appeared in hits) will give this a little more appeal than usual. Plus, like Pitch Perfect, marketing for Mad Max has been omnipresent in the past few weeks as WB tries to get the word out. Based on tracking, which indicates a $40 million debut, they have succeeded and Mad Max should break free of its niche standing.
#3 - Avengers: Age of Ultron
Look for the two-time reigning champ, Avengers: Age of Ultron (read our review) to slide to third in its third weekend. The superhero sequel is already one of the biggest movies of 2015, posting $77.7 million to top the charts last week. However, that was a 59.4 percent drop from its massive opening, and its domestic totals are well behind its predecessor at this point in their respective runs. Audience interest is definitely still there, but now that the film has been out for a couple of weeks (giving the hype a chance to cool off), business should continue to go down - especially with two high-profile new arrivals coming into theaters and taking screens.
#4 - The Age of Adaline
Once again, our pick for fourth is The Age of Adaline (read our review), which grossed $5.8 million last week to finish third. There isn't much left to say about the film other than the drama still is drawing in (small) crowds and should be able to hang around here for at least one more week despite the multiplex becoming more crowded. Sometimes, a romantic drama this time of year can be a minor success due to it being different from what else is out there.
#5 - Hot Pursuit
Rounding out the top five should be Hot Pursuit (read our review), which came in second last week with $13.9 million. The combination of awful Pursuit word-of-mouth with a bevy of other well-received newcomers will be a deadly one. This "comedy" should begin a drastic slide down the charts over the weekend as it quickly fades of of theaters.
Last Week's Recap
We correctly picked the five films that were at the top of the charts, but there was one minor miss. If we had only switched Furious 7 and The Age of Adaline around, then it would have been a perfect week.
Next Week: Poltergeist, Tomorrowland and more!