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Weekend Predictions: Which New Release will Climb to the Top?

September 18th, 2015

The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

It's a sort of busy week this week, with two wide releases, The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and Black Mass, as well as two limited releases with a shot at reaching the top ten, Captive and Everest. The Scorch Trials is the latest Young Adult Adaptation franchise. The first film crossed $100 million domestically, so this one hopes to grow at the box office. Black Mass is early Oscar-bait, but the reviews suggest it won't quite get there. Captive is the latest faith-based film and it likely won't go anywhere. Everest gets an early IMAX opening before its wide release next week. This weekend last year was the weekend The Maze Runner opened. Since sequels tend to open faster than their predecessors, 2015 should come out on top in the year-over-year comparison.

The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is hoping to improve upon the box office results of The Maze Runner. That film earned good reviews and that helped it earn just over $100 million domestically. This film's reviews are not doing as well, as critics are saying there's more action this time around, but less of everything else. This will likely result in a faster opening, but weaker legs. I'm going with $38 million over the weekend and just over $100 million in total.

Black Mass is actually doing better than The Scorch Trials is doing on Fandango; however, I think this has to do with the ages of the target audiences of the two films. It does have a shot at first place, in part due to its incredible cast, but also in part due to its reviews. It is the best-reviewed new release on this week's list. The buzz is also very strong, as many are seeing this as Johnny Depp's comeback movie, by that most people mean he is playing a character, not a caricature. On the high end, it could grab first place with $35 million. (This assumes The Scorch Trials doesn't quite match expectations.) On the low end, it will earn $25 million. Even the low end is good for a September release, but I think the high end is a little more likely and I'm going with $32 million.

Last weekend, The Perfect Guy and The Visit nearly tied for top spot on the box office chart. They've had nearly identical results during the week, so I don't expect them to diverge this weekend. Look for both films to earn $11 million with The Perfect Guy having a very slight edge over The Visit.

War Room will round out the top five with just over $5 million. It is on pace to top $50 million, which will likely be enough to cover its entire combined budget. It is very rare for a film to break even just on its domestic box office.

Everest is opening in just over 500 IMAX theaters. The film's reviews are very good with a lot of critics praising the visuals, even if the screenplay isn't as adventurous and relies on safe and simple characters. Because of this, it should do well on IMAX screens. It might do well enough to earn a per theater average of $10,000. I think that's a little optimistic, but an opening weekend of just over $4 million is more likely.

Captive is the latest faith-based film to open semi-wide. It could be a massive hit, like War Room, or it could flop like 90 Minutes in Heaven did. Normally, I would look at a film's reviews to help judge its box office potential, but with faith-based films, that's pointless. The reviews have nearly no effect on the box office potential. On the low end, the film will miss the Mendoza Line giving it about $1.5 million during its opening weekend. Even the high end has it making just $5 million. I think just over $3 million is the most likely opening.

Filed under: Weekend Preview, Everest, The Visit, Black Mass, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, Captive, War Room, The Perfect Guy, 90 Minutes in Heaven, Johnny Depp