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 Woman in Black: Angel of Death'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 9 - 11, 2015.
This weekend, action sequel Taken 3 opens in 3,500 theaters, civil rights drama Selma gets an unspecified nationwide expansion and Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice plays in more than 400 locations.
#1 - Taken 3
Our pick for first this weekend is Taken 3, the latest installment in the popular action franchise starring Liam Neeson. The Taken sequels haven't been able to replicate the generally well-received reception of the 2009 original, but the series remains a viable commercial force at the box office. Taken 2 opened with $49.5 million in 2012; and though its domestic total was less than the first film ($139.8 million vs. $145 million), it still showed that people have an interest in seeing Neeson in the Bryan Mills role.
The third film is being marketed as the last time we'll get to see Bryan Mills on screen, so Fox is trying to position this as one of the first "event" films of the year. It's doubtful that it breaks any records, but Taken 3 should perform very well in its own right. Early tracking indicates an opening weekend in the neighborhood of $29 million, which is significantly less than its predecessor, but around the debut of the first Taken ($24.7 million) that opened in a similar timeframe. With little competition, it should be fine.
#2 - Selma
Coming in second should be Selma, the civil rights drama that focuses on Martin Luther King's march to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. The film has received universal acclaim from critics and is being hailed as a timely and powerful piece of cinema. It also doesn't hurt that Selma has been a major player on the awards circuit, as it earned a handful of Golden Globe nominations (including Best Picture) and is a presumed contender in several Oscar categories, such as directing and Best Picture.
Selma opened in limited release on Christmas, and has grossed just over $2 million since that time, which is a strong total given that it is only playing in 22 theaters at the time of writing this. The nationwide release is happening Friday, so its business should see a significant increase as film buffs and casual audiences alike will want to check out one of 2014's best works. It will be hard for the film to top a new Taken flick, but the extremely positive buzz Selma is getting should make it a go-to option for several moviegoers.
#3 - The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Look for the three-time reigning champ, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (read our review) to fall to third in its fourth weekend. Peter Jackson's Middle-earth finale has quickly become one of 2014's highest-grossing films and is actually holding very well when compared to similar genre titles of the past 12 months. This is our final trip to this beloved franchise, so the film should continue to draw a large crowd for at least another week or two.
#4 - Into the Woods
Our pick for fourth is Into the Woods (read our review). Disney's musical has become one of the more successful films of the season, grossing $90.8 million domestically since it opened on Christmas. There aren't many new arrivals this week, so the film should hold on to a spot in the top five, since it has remained lucrative in the two weeks it has been playing.
#5 - Unbroken
Rounding out the top five should be Unbroken (read our review). Angelina Jolie's World War II drama hasn't gotten the awards attention that Universal would have liked, but its box office numbers are as cool as the other side of the pillow, totaling $87.6 million domestically at this point in its run. Jolie's involvement and the inspiring true-story narrative have piqued the interest of audiences, so the film should post healthy numbers once more this weekend.
Last Week's Recap
All in all, it was a very good week for our predictions. We correctly predicted the five films that would be in the top five, we were just slightly off on the actual order. The top three (Hobbit, Into the Woods, and Unbroken) finished where we said they would, but Woman in Black 2 and Night at the Museum 3 came in fourth and fifth, respectively, which was one off from where we had them.
That's it for this week's breakdown. Make sure to check back later this week for the official box office results!
Agree or disagree with our predictions? Which five films do you think will top the box office this weekend? Share your own picks in the comments section below!
Next Week: The Wedding Ringer, American Sniper and more!
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90
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