Box Office Prediction: 'Prisoners' vs. 'Insidious Chapter 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 Insidious Chapter 2'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 20th - September 22nd, 2013.

This weekend, the dance movie Battle of the Year opens in 1,800 theaters and the crime-drama Prisoners debuts in over 3,150 theaters. Enough Said and Thanks for Sharing open in an unspecified limited release, while The Wizard of Oz (in IMAX 3D) opens in over 300 theaters and Rush sees a release of 5 theaters.


#1 - Prisoners

Our pick for the top spot is the new drama Prisoners. The film, directed by relative newcomer Denis Villeneuve, gets a strong boost thanks to its cast. Stars Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal are recognizable enough to draw people in (Jackman especially, thanks to the success of the X-Men franchise) and a roster of reliable supporting players including Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, and Paul Dano joins them. The R-rating may limit its potential audience, but it’s hard to bet against that cast.

Prisoners is also the first film this fall to arrive with Oscar buzz. Reviews out of the Telluride and Toronto film festivals were very strong, with Jackman and Gyllenhaal’s performances receiving a bulk of the praise. Warner Bros. made sure to highlight the awards pedigree of the actors involved in the trailers, so this added element could help drum up interest in the crime-thriller.

Hugh Jackman in the Prisoners trailer

#2 - Insidious Chapter 2

Look for last week’s champ Insidious Chapter 2 (read our review) to finish in second place this weekend. The horror sequel grossed an impressive $40.2 million last week, finishing with similar numbers to James Wan’s OTHER hit this year, The Conjuring ($41.8 million in its first three days). While we expect the latest Insidious film to have a healthy box office run, horror films are typically front-loaded and do most of their damage opening weekend. For comparison’s sake, The Conjuring fell 46.9% in its second weekend, making $22.2 million.

#3 - The Family

Coming in third should be the dark comedy The Family (read our review). The latest Robert De Niro vehicle held its own last week, grossing over $14 million during its first three days. While that exceeded expectations, this film will probably not have strong legs at the box office. Reviews have been mixed and Prisoners will more than likely be the top choice for adult moviegoers this weekend.

Robert De Niro in The Family

#4 - Battle of the Year

Our choice for the fourth spot is the dance movie, Battle of the Year. Only opening in 1,800 theaters will limit its potential intake and a small marketing presence means awareness is already low. The lack of a major star will also hurt its box office prospects.

#5 - Riddick

Rounding out the top five should be Riddick (read our review). The sci-fi sequel only made $6.8 million last weekend to raise its domestic total to $31.1 million. Vin Diesel may have a large following of over 47 million Facebook fans, but it appears as if they’re more interested in future Fast and Furious installments and not the tales of Richard B. Riddick. Riddick is well below the pace of The Chronicles of Riddick at this stage in their theatrical releases, so it looks as if the demand has died down.

#10 - Planes

Our number ten tiebreaker pick this week is Disney’s Planes (read our review). The animated family film finished seventh last week.


Despite its popularity that spans generations, we do not expect the re-release of The Wizard of Oz to crack the top five due to the nature of its limited release. While we do think Ron Howard’s Formula 1 racing drama Rush will perform well once it expands, it’s important for our readers to keep in mind it is only playing in five theaters this week before opening nationwide on September 27th.

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):

  • Battle of the Year - 1,800 theaters
  • Prisoners - 3,150+ theaters

Opening in theaters this week (Limited):

  • Enough Said - unspecified (on Wednesday)
  • Thanks for Sharing - unspecified
  • The Wizard of Oz (IMAX 3D) - 300+ theaters
  • Rush - 5 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 (Insidious Chapter 2 opening): Sal reports that Kevin7 was the winner with a perfect score of 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 - Insidious Chapter 2 (3)
  • #2 - Riddick (1)
  • #3 - The Family (1)
  • #4 - Lee Daniels' The Butler (1)
  • #5 - Instructions Not Included (1)
  • #10 - Blue Jasmine
  • Final Score: 7 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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