Box Office Prediction: Snowden vs. Blair Witch

Snowden Blair Witch 2 Box Office

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 Sully'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 August September 16 - 18, 2016.

This weekend, Blair Witch plays in 2,850 theaters, Bridget Jones's Baby debuts in more than 2,900 locations, and Snowden opens in 2,400 theaters.

#1 - Blair Witch

Our pick for the top spot is the new horror film Blair Witch, which is a sequel to the phenomenon The Blair Witch Project. Opening in 1999, the found footage pioneer was extremely successful at the box office, earning $140.5 million domestically. It has remained a touchstone of the genre due to its innovation and techniques, which means that as a property it's still fairly visible and the followup's status as a delayed sequel shouldn't hurt its commercial prospects. The project, which was produced under the title The Woods, soared near the top of many's most-anticipated lists when its true nature was revealed during San Diego Comic-Con 2016. There's much interest in seeing the film.

As such, it's expected Blair Witch will do quite well in its opening weekend. The projections have it pegged for around $20.5 million in the first three days, which would be a decent start. It's worth keeping in mind that horror as a whole has had a lucrative year in 2016, most recently with Don't Breathe (which demonstrated strong legs). The case can be made that the demand won't be there, but the film should draw a large crowd. Over the long run, it may not make as much as the original Blair Witch (due to circumstances it cannot control), but there's no reason why it can't be financially successful in its own right.

Blair Witch poster excerpt

#2 - Sully

Look for last week's champ, Sully (read our review), to slide to second in its second weekend. The latest from director Clint Eastwood posted a strong $35 million in its first three days, taking advantage of its positive word-of-mouth and viewers' familiarity with its source material. It has continued to do strong business throughout the week, indicating that it will have legs at the box office. Sully faces some high-profile competition this week, but the buzz should keep it soaring high for at least another week.

#3 - Bridget Jones's Baby

Coming in third should be the new romantic-comedy Bridget Jones's Baby, the third installment in the popular Bridget Jones series. The first two movies have been very successful commercially, bringing in more than $500 million worldwide collectively. Though it's been 12 years since the last film, the property still has a passionate following that will always be there to support it. Baby is even getting a boost from the early reviews, which are very positive. Chances are, the next installment won't bring in a generation of new fans, but the word-of-mouth should encourage the target demographic to make the trip to the theater.

If there are any negatives for Baby at this point in time, it's that the franchise has seen diminishing returns over the course of its run. The original movie brought in $71 million domestically, but the sequel managed a meager $40 million. That's a sign that interest in the property may not be there, and this new movie is arriving too late to have an impact. It's projected to make $14 million in its opening weekend, which would be an all-time high for the series (although, inflation has something to do with that). Bridget Jones's Baby won't be a crossover hit, but it should do fine for itself.

Bridget Jones's Baby trailer and poster

#4 - Snowden

Our choice for fourth is Snowden, the new film by Oliver Stone. It is a biopic of Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee who leaked classified information about global surveillance programs. The film sports an A-list cast that includes the likes of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Zachary Quinto, and Melissa Leo, and its subject matter is more relevant than ever in this day in age. However, that may not be much of a benefit. The movie's early reviews have been mixed, and Gordon-Levitt, while well-liked by many, isn't a box office lock on his own. Snowden is going to have an uphill battle commercially, as it's projected to gross just $6 million in its first three days.

#5 - When the Bough Breaks

Rounding out the top five should be When the Bough Breaks, which grossed $14.2 million in its opening weekend. The film got off to a great start, but its limited awareness combined with a trio of new releases will make it difficult for it to repeat those numbers.

Last Week's Recap

Our Predictions:

  1. Sully
  2. When the Bough Breaks
  3. Don't Breathe
  4. Suicide Squad
  5. The Wild Life


  1. Sully
  2. When the Bough Breaks
  3. Don't Breathe
  4. Suicide Squad
  5. The Wild Life


Next Week: The Magnificent Seven, Storks, and more!

Sources: Box Office Mojo (Release Schedule), Box Office Opening Weekend Projections)

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