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 Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children‘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 September 30 – October 2, 2016.
This weekend, The Girl On The Train plays in 3,135 theaters, The Birth of a Nation debuts in 2,100 locations, and Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life opens in 2,812 theaters.
#1 – The Girl On The Train
Our choice for the top spot this week is The Girl On The Train, the adaptation of the best-selling novel. The book was immensely popular and has now sold millions of copies. Just based on those figures, it’s clear there’s a sizable audience for this kind of material. Its marketing has drawn comparisons to Gone Girl, which was a major box office success in 2014, earning $37.5 million in its opening weekend (en route to $167.7 domestic total). It’s worth pointing out that Gone Girl also came out in early October, so this is a particular genre that can post strong numbers during this time period.
Girl On The Train should do fine on its own, but based on the commercial projections, it may not be Gone Girl 2.0. For starters, the early reviews have been relatively mixed, whereas Gone Girl‘s were very positive. That may encourage the uninitiated to stay home, limiting the film’s overall appeal. Also, while Emily Blunt is a famous name, she isn’t a lock at the box office. Her biggest hits in recent years were the ensemble piece Into the Woods ($128 million) and Tom Cruise vehicle Edge of Tomorrow ($100.2 million). She hasn’t proven to be a viable lead on her own, but Girl on the Train should have one of her better debuts. Estimates point to a $26.5 million opening.
#2 – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Look for last week’s champ, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (read our review), to slide to second in its second weekend. The latest from director Tim Burton grossed $28.8 million to win the weekend, but it was a fairly soft debut. Due to the mixed word-of-mouth, it’s unlikely that the film has strong legs at the box office, and it didn’t open high enough to maintain first place again. Since it’s one of the few films out there for its target demographic, it’ll do decent this weekend, but nothing major.
#3 – Deepwater Horizon
Our pick for third is Deepwater Horizon (read our review), which came in second last week with $20.2 million. Though the film has gone over very well with critics, this true story collaboration between Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg hasn’t found the same kind of audience as Lone Survivor did. Deepwater Horizon may benefit from the responses by those who have seen it, but chances are since interest wasn’t overwhelmingly high to begin with, business will go down a bit. Overall, it should hold well, but Deepwater Horizon isn’t going to leap into the top spot.
#4 – The Birth of a Nation
Coming in fourth should be The Birth of a Nation, the drama about Nat Turner’s 1831 slave rebellion from director/writer/star Nate Parker. Following its showing at the Sundance Film Festival in January, Birth of a Nation was pegged as an (extremely) early frontrunner for this year’s Oscars, and its status as an important awards contender would have given it a bit of a boost commercially. However, in recent months, Parker (and the film itself) has come under fire due to issues from his past (which we will not detail here), and some believe the negative press will be a detriment to its box office prospects.
While that may eventually prove to be the case, it’s worth wondering how much box office appeal Birth of a Nation had to begin with. Earlier this year, films dealing with race like Free State of Jones and Race flopped, suggesting that this is a subject matter that isn’t the most accessible to general audiences. Even the Best Picture winning 12 Years a Slave could only manage $6.6 million when it went wide back in 2013. Cinephiles may be interested (for a variety of reasons) to see Birth of a Nation, but it probably won’t be the film of choice for casual viewers. Projections have it pegged for $9.5 million in its first three days.
#5 – The Magnificent Seven
Rounding out the top five should be The Magnificent Seven (read our review), which made $15.6 million last weekend. The Western remake may not have been the monumental blockbuster some thought it could be, but it’s given viewers something fun to check out in the early days of fall, and chances are it hangs around for at least another week.
Last Week’s Recap
Next Week: The Accountant, Max Steel, and more!!