Box Office Prediction: Star Wars 7 vs. Ride Along 2

Star Wars 7 vs. Ride Along 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 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 Revenant'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 15 - 17, 2016.

This weekend, Ride Along 2 opens in more than 2,900 locations, Norm of the North plays in 2,300 theaters, and 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi debuts in 2,300 locations.

#1 - Ride Along 2

Our pick for the top spot, and the film that will dethrone Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is the comedy sequel Ride Along 2. The first film was a massive hit in 2014, capitalizing on Kevin Hart's popularity to the tune of $41.5 million in its opening weekend. Its success solidified Hart as a star, ending its run with $134.9 million domestically. Since that time, Hart's box office track record has been a little inconsistent, but last year's Get Hard ($90.4 million) shows he's still a draw for a big comedy. Seeing him team up with the likable Ice Cube once again surely adds to Ride Along 2's appeal, as the first go-around for the pair was profitable.

If there's anything working against the movie right now, it's that the early reviews have mostly been negative, a fact that could hurt the film's commercial prospects in the long run. At the same time, it's been a while since a high-profile comedy made its way into the marketplace, and with the hype surrounding Star Wars cooling off a bit, there's an opportunity for another film to swoop in and take the crown. With stars like Hart and Cube returning for the sequel to one of their biggest films, Ride Along 2 just might pull it off. Projected opening weekend is $41 million

Ride Along 2 trailer and poster with Ice Cube and Kevin Hart

#2 - The Revenant

Coming in second should be The Revenant (read our review), which finished in this spot last week by making $39.8 million as it expanded nationwide. Arguably, the drama surpassed its box office expectations and has managed to find a wide audience despite its subject matter and R rating. Much of that can be credited to the appeal of star Leonardo DiCaprio and the awards buzz the project has received. It recently won multiple Golden Globes (including Best Picture and Best Actor), and it's in the running for a few Oscar nods later this week. All those factors should help The Revenant display strong legs as awards season heats up.

#3 - Star Wars: The Force Awakens

After ruling the domestic box office four weeks in a row, the reign of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (read our review) is most likely coming to a close. The juggernaut faced its toughest challenge last week, barely getting by The Revenant (there was a $3 million difference between the two films). Star Wars 7 is also starting to getting topped in the daily charts by Revenant, showing that business is starting to truly slow down for J.J. Abrams' film. While it's time as the #1 film is over, Star Wars is still going to be hanging around for a few more weeks and continue to add to its astronomical $819.6 million total.

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#4 - 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Coming in fourth should be 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, the latest film from director Michael Bay. Bay is a filmmaker behind some of the biggest films of all-time (Transformers), but it seems that audiences are more interested in the properties he works with as opposed to Bay himself. The last time he wasn't directing Optimus Prime was 2013's Pain & Gain, which struggled to find much traction commercially ($49.8 million domestic total).

Despite the true story intrigue behind 13 Hours, it could be more of the same. The war drama is projected to make around $25 million in its first three days, which conceivably could put it in a tight race with Revenant and Star Wars, but word-of-mouth could be the difference maker. The latter two movies are getting rave reviews, while 13 Hours has to combat the stigma of Bay, who is not a fan-favorite.

#5 - Norm of the North

Rounding out the top five should be Norm of the North, a new animated film. Typically, you don't underestimate family flicks when trying to predict the box office, but this is a rare exception to the rule. The film is entering theaters with limited buzz, meaning that awareness could be an issue. In terms of the demographic, Star Wars is still a viable option for families looking for a fun time at the movies, which puts Norm at a disadvantage. Pixar this is not, and the movie is only expected to make about $10 million in its opening weekend. So it probably won't be around for long.

Last Week's Recap

Our Picks:

  1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  2. Daddy's Home
  3. The Revenant
  4. The Hateful Eight
  5. The Forest


  1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  2. The Revenant
  3. Daddy's Home
  4. The Forest
  5. Sisters


Next Week: The 5th Wave, Dirty Grandpa, and more!

Sources: Box Office Mojo (Release Schedule), Box Office [1] [2] [3] (Opening Weekend Projections)

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