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Weekend Predictions: Prisoners Free to Capture Top Spot

September 20th, 2013

There might be a close race at the box office this weekend. The buzz surrounding Prisoners is growing enough that it should earn first place, but Insidious Chapter 2 might hold on well enough to challenge the newcomer for top spot. The other new release for the week is Battle of the Year, which is opening in fewer theaters than I thought it would and with much worse reviews. It likely won't be a factor. In fact, there's a slim chance that the 3-D re-release of The Wizard of Oz will earn more this weekend than Battle of the Year will. The best new releases from this week last year was End of Watch, which only managed $13.15 million. This is close to what it cost to make, but it is low for a number one film. On the other hand, last year had much better depth than this year will have, so 2013's winning streak might come to an end.

Prisoners has an impressive cast that includes Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, and Melissa Leo. All of these actors have at least one Oscar nomination to their record, while Melissa Leo won an Oscar for The Fighter. Additionally, Maria Bello has two Golden Globe nominations, while Paul Dano has won an Independent Spirit Award and a SAG award, so they are not unaccustomed to Awards Season glory either. The overall reviews for this film are incredible at 81% positive and if the film was opening in November, it could have serious Oscar buzz. Opening this early in the fall won't help its Oscar chances, nor will it help at the box office. There is a chance it will be a surprise hit earning more than $20 million over the weekend, maybe even $25 million, but an $18 million opening and strong legs is more likely.

Insidious Chapter 2 opened with more than $40 million last weekend and it hopes to hold onto a good chunk of that number this weekend. There are a lot of factors going against it, including its reviews, its genre, Sequelitis, etc. If it is lucky, it will drop 55% to just over $18 million, which would give it a real shot at first place. If it is unlucky, it will drop more than 65% to just under $14 million. I'm going with $16 million.

The Family had a surprisingly strong start, but its reviews will likely result in short legs. A 50% drop-off seems likely, which would leave the film with $7 million, more or less. This should be enough for third place, unless Battle of the Year gets off to a faster than expected start.

Speaking of Battle of the Year, it should grab fourth place, mostly by default. The film is barely opening truly wide, debuting in just 2,008 theaters this weekend. Additionally, its reviews are barely in double-digits, and that's only thanks to rounding. (Its Tomatometer Score is actually 9.52% positive.) It is also earning some of the worst buzz of the month and there is a chance it will fail to reach the Mendoza Line, which could leave it outside of the top five. I'm not that pessimistic, but I don't think it will do significantly more that $6 million leaving it in fourth place.

Lee Daniels' The Butler and We're The Millers will be in a battle for fifth place with close to $4 million each. Both films have already topped $100 million domestically, so the studios should be very happy with these results.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, We're the Millers, Lee Daniels' The Butler, Battle of the Year, The Family, Prisoners, Insidious Chapter 2, Maria Bello, Paul Dano, Viola Davis, Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrence Howard, Hugh Jackman, Melissa Leo