Welcome to the Screen Rant Box Office Prediction. Every week we put together an informal list of box office picks for the upcoming weekend - in collaboration with the Screen Rant Underground podcast Box Office Battle - 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 TMNT'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 that 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 15 - 17, 2014.
This weekend, action sequel The Expendables 3 debuts in 3,000 theaters, comedy Let's Be Cops opens in 3,000 theaters, and young adult adaptation The Giver plays in 2,800 theaters. On the limited front, we have Frank and Life After Beth getting unspecified releases and The Trip to Italy playing on 3 screens.
#1 - The Expendables 3
Our choice for the top spot this week is The Expendables 3. The latest installment in the throwback action franchise is promising to deliver more of the same, with trailers showcasing the explosive sequences and one-liners that audiences have come to expect from Sylvester Stallone and company. 2012's sequel showed diminishing returns in terms of domestic totals ($85 million compared to $103 million), indicating that there's a reduced lack of interest surrounding the series. Having said that, the previous entries both won their respective opening weekends, and we feel that tradition will continue - despite the $23 million projected debut.
Once again, the Expendables are expanding their roster, adding screen icons like Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson to the proceedings - and thus, giving moviegoers something fresh to look forward to. Not only that, this threequel purposely went for the PG-13 rating in order to maximize profits. While this will no doubt upset fans of hardcore '80s action extravaganzas, the broadened appeal could help the film reach a wider audience. We don't think The Expendables 3 will have a long run at the top, but its offer of action stars going on one last ride together will be enough to carry it through this week.
#2 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Look for last week's champ, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (read our review), to slip to second this week. Exceeding expectations, the Michael Bay produced reboot of this beloved property made $65.5 million during its first three days. Shredding the competition, that performance gives us reason to believe that the sci-fi/action film will maintain some strong legs at the box office. Given the way this summer has gone, TMNT should fall victim to the infamous second weekend decline (the arrival of The Expendables will surely take away business), but audiences have shown they're interested in a new take on the Turtles. With a sequel on the way, moviegoers should continue to support this one.
#3 - Guardians of the Galaxy
Our choice for third is Guardians of the Galaxy (read our review). Marvel's riskiest bet yet seems to have paid off in spades, as James Gunn's cosmic space opera has become one of the few breakout hits of the season, having scored an additional $42.1 million in its second weekend. The 55.3 percent drop-off, while tamer than most, illustrates that the film was front-loaded after setting an August record in its first three days. Still, the movie has generated extremely positive buzz from both critics and moviegoers alike; as such, when audiences line up for repeat viewings (and newcomers check out what all the fuss is about), the film will continue to be a successful holdover for at least one more week.
#4 - Let's Be Cops
Coming in fourth should be the new comedy Let's Be Cops. The film has used its intriguing premise (two schlubs pretend to be cops after a costume party) to sell audiences on hilarious misadventures, and comedy fans haven't had much to choose from since 22 Jump Street hit theaters in June. Sex Tape failed to connect a few weeks back, so Cops could do solid business just by offering something new. None of the principle players are big box office draws, but the market is a little barren in the dog days of August, meaning this could theoretically be 2014's We're the Millers, which had success in a similar timeframe.
Early tracking indicates a $20 million opening, but we would like to remind our readers that Let's Be Cops opens on August 13. Our game only counts the Friday - Sunday totals, and the demand for this could be diminished by the time the weekend actually starts. This is why we think it'll finish fourth, even though it's a new release sporting a healthy marketing campaign.
#5 - The Giver
Rounding out the top five should be The Giver. The adaptation of the classic young adult book has a fairly recognizable cast that includes legends like Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep. However, it seems poised to become the latest work in the genre to fail to connect with audiences. Early tracking is only at $11 million for the weekend, giving the impression that there is little-to-no excitement surrounding the project. The novel is a literary classic, so its fans will turn out to support the movie adaptation. However, it doesn't have the mass appeal of, say, The Hunger Games or even Divergent - meaning big numbers are unlikely.
#10 - Hercules
That's it for this week's breakdown.
Now, if you want to participate in the weekly Box Office Battle, it's time for you to make your picks! In the comments section below, post what you think will be the top five movies this weekend at the box office as well as your own number ten tiebreaker. Then, tune into the Screen Rant Underground podcast for the results and find out who won.
Opening in theaters this week (Wide):
- Let's Be Cops - 3,000 theaters (on Wednesday)
- The Expendables 3 - 3,000 theaters
- The Giver - 2,800 theaters
Opening in theaters this week (Limited):
- Frank - unspecified
- Life After Beth - unspecified
- The Trip to Italy - 3 theaters
Box Office Battle Scoring Rules: You get three (3) points for each direct match with the weekend actuals and one (1) point for each movie placed within one spot of the exact position. A perfect score is 15 points. Tie-breakers are not worth any points but, in the event of a tie, the person with a tie-breaker selection closest to the number 10 spot will be awarded the win.
Last Week’s Official Box Office Battle Reader Winner (TMNT opening): Sal reports John Swift won with 12 points.
For the record, here are our picks from last week - along with the corresponding amount of points we received for each pick (listed in parenthesis).
- #1 - Guardians of the Galaxy (1)
- #2 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1)
- #3 - Into the Storm (3)
- #4 - Lucy (1)
- #5 - Step Up All In (1)
- #10 - The Purge: Anarchy
- Final Score: 7 points
Make sure to check back later this week for the official box office results and tune into the Screen Rant Underground podcast for the weekly winners!
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90
Source: Box Office Mojo (Release Schedule)