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 Accountant‘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 October 21 – 23, 2016.
This weekend, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back opens in 3,600 theaters, Boo! A Madea Halloween debuts in 2,200 locations, Keeping Up with the Joneses plays in 3,022 theaters, and Ouija: Origin of Evil premieres in 3,167 locations.
#1 – Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Our choice for the top spot this week is Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, the sequel to the 2012 action film starring Tom Cruise. The original was a modest hit back when it first came out, earning $15.2 million in its first three days. Jack Reacher ended its run with $80 million, which is somewhat low for Cruise, but was still a respectable enough figure. Thanks to the popularity of the book series, the movie found a sizable audience and Paramount was obviously encouraged enough to develop a series.
One thing that plays into Never Go Back‘s advantage is that it’s opening in a far less competitive time at the box office. Instead of premiering in a crowded holiday season, the film should be able to benefit from its mid-October window. None of the releases this fall have become a true breakout hit, so there isn’t much standing in Jack Reacher 2‘s way. However, it doesn’t have enough going for it to turn into a bona fide blockbuster. The early reviews have been mixed-to-negative, and since there wasn’t a great deal of interest in the first film, it’s unlikely the sequel draws in newcomers. Projections are pegged at $19 million, which is more than its predecessor – but that’s mainly due to timing more than anything.
#2 – Boo! A Madea Halloween
Coming in second should be Boo! A Madea Halloween. As the title suggests, it’s a special Halloween themed installment of Tyler Perry’s popular Madea film franchise, which has consistently posted decent numbers at the box office. The most recent entry, 2013’s A Madea Christmas, brought in $52.5 million domestically. That was a series low, but it still illustrated that there was a viewership for the property. Halloween is right around the corner, so some audience members will be interested in seeing some (comedic) scares on the big screen. The Perry brand is recognizable, and while it doesn’t break records, it nevertheless has an appeal.
Estimates say that Madea Halloween could make as much as $19.5 million in its first three days. As you may notice, that’s a little higher than Jack Reacher 2, but we think the two will be flipped when it’s all said and done. Jack Reacher is playing in over a thousand more theaters than Madea, and that discrepancy in number of screens should be enough for the Tom Cruise vehicle to pull ahead. Also, it’s more likely that Never Go Back attracts a more widespread, general audience, whereas Madea could be more niche than anything else. Still, the two should be neck-and-neck for most of the weekend.
#3 – The Accountant
Look for last week’s champ, The Accountant (read our review), to slide to third in its second weekend. The Ben Affleck vehicle made a cool $24.7 million, which was a very nice start. That said, there’s a question about how strong it will hold. The reviews were generally mixed, and while moviegoers seemed to like The Accountant, the arrival of Jack Reacher could take away some business. Granted, The Accountant‘s R rating sets it apart from Never Go Back, but the two projects are still going after similar demographics.
#4 – Ouija: Origin of Evil
Our choice for fourth is the new horror film Ouija: Origin of Evil. It is a sequel to 2014’s Ouija, which opened with an impressive $19.8 million en route to $50.8 million domestically. However, the original was panned by critics and audiences alike, meaning that the demand for a followup was most likely never all that high. For Origin of Evil, the filmmakers went in the prequel direction, setting the story roughly 50 years before the first one. While that’s an interesting idea, its disconnect from the predecessor may dissuade the few fans of the original Ouija to check it out.
Surprisingly, Origin of Evil has earned positive reviews in the early going, with many pundits saying it’s effectively scary and dramatic thanks to the handle by director Mike Flanagan. That might encourage some horror fans to go see it, but tracking suggests it won’t be enough to make it a crossover hit. Estimates are set at only $13 million. Even though it’s the only entry in its genre playing over Halloween, it still has an uphill climb with all of the other films that are playing and doesn’t have enough to truly stand out.
#5 – Keeping Up with the Joneses
Rounding out the top five should be Keeping Up with the Joneses, a star-studded action comedy that stars Jon Hamm, Zach Galifianakis, Gal Gadot, and Isla Fisher. The premise of an average suburban couple living across the street from suave secret agents sounds fun, and comedy fans haven’t had much to check out lately. Unfortunately, the film has been slammed by critics so far, which puts it at a disadvantage. Curious minds may be inclined to see it, but Keeping Up with the Joneses won’t amount to much. Projections are only $5.7 million for the opening weekend.
Last Week’s Recap
Next Week: How much will Inferno make?