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 Fantastic Four'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 14 - 16, 2015.
This weekend, spy thriller The Man from U.N.C.L.E. debuts in more than 3,450 theaters and biopic Straight Outta Compton opens in 2,751 locations. In limited release, Mistress America plays on 4 screens and People Places Things hits an unspecified number of theaters.
#1 - Straight Outta Compton
This week, we believe the top grossing film will be Straight Outta Compton, the anticipated biopic about legendary rap group NWA. The film has benefited from a very strong marketing campaign that has excited both fans of NWA's music and cinephiles alike. Ever since they burst on the scene in 1988, the group has amassed a large following that's eager to see their story be told on the big screen. Plus, based on the trailers, it seems like the movie will sport some timely social commentary. That's an element that will only help it attract more viewers. In addition, it's generating a very positive critical response.
As such, expectations are very high for Straight Outta Compton. Early projections indicate that the film will bring in $43 million over its first three days, which is a very strong haul for a project of this scale. The biopic is also coming out at just the perfect time. The marketplace is starting to quiet down after the summer blockbusters have made their noise, and there's very little competition out there right now. All things are shaping up for this film to be a hit and have a fruitful run throughout the remainder of August.
#2 - The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Coming in second should be the new spy film, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which is an adaptation of the 1960s TV show of the same name. The movie stars Superman himself Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer, both of whom have spotty box office track records. Though Cavill has a blockbuster under his belt with Man of Steel, his non-DC outings aren't as stellar (though Immortals posted a solid $83.5 million) and Hammer's claim to infamy is headlining Disney's Lone Ranger disaster two years ago. However, there's enough working in this film's favor that could indicate a reversal of trends.
For starters, U.N.C.L.E. is directed by Guy Ritchie, who found commercial success with the Sherlock Holmes film franchise (starring Robert Downey, Jr.). Secondly, the marketing campaign has sold the movie as a good old fashioned espionage romp that looks fun to watch. It's hard to deny the charm of the stars (in the trailers at least) and early reviews have been mostly positive. It may not be a runaway hit like Mission: Impossible or James Bond, but U.N.C.L.E. should find some traction with its target audience and have a respectable debut. Projections currently indicate a $16 million opening weekend.
#3 - Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
Look for the two-time reigning champ, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (read our review) to fall to third in its third weekend. The film has held well so far thanks to its positive reviews and audience response, but it's time at the top is due to come to an end. Straight Outta Compton is looking to be the big winner, and Man from U.N.C.L.E. is going after the same demographics as Rogue Nation. It may still have another healthy gross, but now business is going to slow down.
#4 - Fantastic Four
Our pick for fourth is Fantastic Four (read our review). As you probably know by now, the reboot has been a complete fiasco for Twentieth Century Fox, as it made an under-whelming $25.6 million over its first three days. With poor word-of-mouth spreading from all corners of the industry, there's virtually no chance Fantastic Four can turn things around before it heads straight out of theaters.
#5 - The Gift
Rounding out the top five should be The Gift (read our review), which came in third last week with $11.8 million. The indie thriller has received strong reviews, which should entice casual audiences to check it out. Particularly at this time of year when the box office isn't as crowded, counter-programming like this can string together some good weekends.
Last Week's Recap
Our picks were a mess last week. We actually did not predict a single spot correctly (remember our friendly disclaimer!), showing that it's not always smart to bet on the early projections. Here's to more accurate guesses this time around.
Next Week: American Ultra, Hitman: Agent 47, and more!