Box Office Prediction: Star Wars 7 vs. The Hateful Eight

Our box office predictions for the weekend of January 1 - 3, 2016, where Star Wars: The Force Awakens faces the expansion of The Hateful Eight.

Star Wars vs. Hateful Eight

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 Daddy's Home'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 January 1 - 3, 2016.

This weekend, The Hateful Eight expands nationwide to 2,474 theaters. In limited release, Anomalisa plays in 4 locations.

#1 - Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Look for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (read our review) to come in first for the third consecutive week. The movie has been an absolute behemoth at the box office, breaking several records with many more in its sights. In just 12 days, Star Wars 7 has racked up an astonishing $600.9 million domestically and is showing no signs of slowing down. Some are even predicting that it will pass Avatar as the highest-grossing film of all-time by the time the weekend is over, so all eyes will be on how much further Episode VII can go.

Star Wars 7 The Force Awakens Kylo Ren

#2 - The Hateful Eight

While it won't be able to top Star Wars, Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight should put up a good fight and we believe it can work its way up to second as it goes wide. On Christmas, a special 70mm Roadshow version of the Western played in only 100 theaters, and it managed to round out the top 10 with $4.6 million. That shows there's great audience interest in the film, even though its 3 hour run time may be daunting for some.

Tarantino is a popular filmmaker who can sell audiences with just his name alone. His last two films, Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained both crossed $100 million Stateside. Time will tell if Hateful Eight can reach that mark, but it's off to a great start and the positive reviews (read ours) will only add to its appeal. Several of the holiday releases this year have been underwhelming critically. An offering from Tarantino could be just what cinephiles need to ring in the New Year. Hateful Eight went wide on December 30, 2015, but that shouldn't hurt its chances too much when it comes to weekend placement.

#3 - Daddy's Home

Our pick for third is Daddy's Home (read our review), which came in second last week with $38.7 million in its first three days. The comedy may not have scored the best reviews, but the star power of Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell, combined with the lighthearted premise, has made it a go-to option. Daddy's Home actually surpassed the modest expectations analysts had for it going into its debut and it's still doing decent business. It should continue to hang around.

Daddy's Home - Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, and Linda Cardellini

#4 - Joy

We believe Joy (read our review) will come in fourth during its second weekend. The latest David O. Russell/Jennifer Lawrence collaboration may not be doing as well critically as their previous films, but commercial it's performing comparably to American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook. The lack of awards buzz surrounding the project may impact its legs at the box office, but for now, seeing the star that is Lawrence on the big screen has enough appeal.

#5 - Sisters

Rounding out the top five should be Sisters (read our review). The pairing of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler came in fourth last week with $14.1 million, which is actually a slight increase from its opening weekend figures. Seeing the two leading ladies together has proven to be a nice draw, and without much competition it should hang around the top five for another week.

Last Week's Recap

In a special edition of the Box Office Prediction, we theorized that Star Wars: The Force Awakens would be able to top Jurassic World's second weekend record of $106.5 million. We were correct, as Star Wars 7 made $149.2 million last weekend.

Next Week: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Revenant and more!

Sources: Box Office Mojo (Release Schedule)

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