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 Straight Outta Compton'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 21 - 23, 2015.
This weekend, horror sequel Sinister 2 hits 2,600 theaters, video game adaptation Hitman: Agent 47 debuts in 3,100 theaters, and American Ultra plays in 2,600 locations.
#1 - Straight Outta Compton
Look for last week's champ, Straight Outta Compton (read our review) to top the charts again in its second weekend. The biopic of legendary rap group N.W.A. had a stellar opening, bringing in a record $60.2 million over its first three days. Thanks to positive critical reviews and enthusiastic response from fans, the film has generated very strong word-of-mouth, and it should be able to continue its box office dominance. There's no particularly high-profile new releases coming to theaters this week, and Straight Outta Compton was so far ahead of the pack last week, that it would take a great fall for it to be knocked down a spot. For at least this week, that's not going to happen and Universal's amazing year will keep going strong.
#2 - Sinister 2
Coming in second should be the new horror film Sinister 2. The first film in this blossoming franchise was a modest commercial hit at $48 million. That's not exactly anything to write home about, but the movie did have an appeal for fans of the genre, who have largely been underserved as of late. Even if this sequel doesn't become a crossover smash in the vein of something like The Conjuring, it should still be able to bring out a niche audience in full force - particularly with the horror movie brand familiarity.
As such, Sinister 2 is expected to hold its own against most of the competition as it opens. Projections are currently pointing towards an $18 million weekend, which is exactly what the first one made in its first three days. Give the popularity of horror films in general and moviegoers' desires to see something scary, that's a reasonable estimate - and Sinister 2 should be able to make around that much, over the weekend.
#3 - Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
Our pick for third is Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (read our review). The fifth installment in the popular action franchise came in second last week with $17.1 million. It's been holding well steadily throughout its run, but it's easy to see that business for it is slowing down at the same time. With the positive reception it has generated, Rogue Nation should be able to have another healthy weekend, so things shouldn't be too bad for Paramount's blockbuster. Especially with Man from U.N.C.L.E. underperforming somewhat, it's clear that this is still the spy film of choice for moviegoers.
#4 - American Ultra
Coming in fourth should be American Ultra, the stoner action comedy starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart. The film hasn't had the most visible marketing campaign, so awareness could be an issue in drawing big crowds. However, the premise is something that could be interesting to watch unfold (think if Jason Bourne was a heavy drug user), which may help attract some viewers. Still, the film is not scoring the most positive reviews, so it may not be a clear cut winner. Early estimates have it making $9.5 million in its opening weekend, which is a solid intake for a "smaller" work like this, but not enough to hang with the big boys.
#5 - The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Rounding out the top five should be The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (read our review), which opened in third last week with $13.4 million. The film doesn't have the widespread appeal of a Mission: Impossible, but it did get a generally positive critical reception, with many considering it a fun time at the movies (even if it is a bit light). People may still want to check it out, which will keep it hanging around for another week.
We don't think video game film Hitman: Agent 47 will crack the top five. We're basing this solely on the early projection, which is at just $6.5 million for its first three days. The existing holdovers should be able to generate more than that, and a couple of the other new arrivals are in good shape for strong weekends of their own. Don't count on this one leaving too much of an impact.
Last Week's Recap
Our predictions were fairly spot on. If we had only reversed Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation and Man from U.N.C.L.E. it would have been a perfect week.
Next Week: Straight Outta Compton, We Are Your Friends, and more!