September is typically a slow month in theaters, but thanks to an emerging young adult franchise and a highly-anticipated biopic, there could be some fireworks at the box office reminiscent of summer totals. This weekend, fans will return to author James Dashner's dystopian world with The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, while mobster James 'Whitey' Bulger's story is told on the big screen in Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp. If the projections at Pro.BoxOffice.com are accurate, then The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials should have no trouble at all securing the top spot at the box office this weekend.
The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is projected to take in an estimated $48 million this weekend, which would far surpass its predecessor, The Maze Runner, which took the top spot at the box office almost exactly one year ago, with $34 million. The Maze Runner would go on to gross a respectable $102.4 million domestically and $238.3 million internationally for a worldwide total of $340.7 million, from a $34 million budget. No budget figures have been released for The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, but if it can earn $48 million or more in its opening weekend, it will be well on its way to at least a $200 million domestic tally, and $500 million worldwide.
Several of the main stars from The Maze Runner (Dylan O'Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Kaya Scodelario, Ki Hong Lee and Patricia Clarkson) are back in The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, with a slew of new characters as well, played by Nathalie Emmanuel and Aidan Gillen, who both co-star on Game of Thrones, along with Katherine McNamara, Giancarlo Esposito and Lili Taylor. After escaping the massive maze known as The Glade, these youngsters are faced with surviving in the desolate wasteland of Earth, now known as The Scorch. This adaptation will be followed by the final installment in this beloved Maze Runner franchise, The Maze Runner: The Death Cure. Unfortunately, fans will have to wait a big longer for the finale, with The Maze Runner: The Death Cure set to hit theaters on February 17, 2017.
Warner Bros.' R-rated drama Black Mass isn't expected to give the young Gladers of The Scorch Trials a run for their money, but will still put up some solid numbers. The biopic of James 'Whitey' Bulger, starring Johnny Depp, is expected to pull in $21 million in second place. The film does feature a star-studded cast, with Johnny Depp in a rare villainous turn as Boston mobster James 'Whitey' Bulger, who was a fixture on the FBI's Top 10 Most Wanted List, often right behind Osama Bin Laden. This gangster served as the inspiration for Jack Nicholson's Frank Costigan in The Departed and Pete Postlethwaite's Fergus "Fergie" Colm in The Town. Also starring is Dakota Johnson, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Corey Stoll, Juno Temple, Kevin Bacon, Jesse Plemons, Adam Scott and Peter Sarsgaard.
Both The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and Black Mass have gotten positive scores from the critics already, with The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials currently at 62% "Fresh" on RottenTomatoes.com and Black Mass at 87% "Fresh." In fact, all of this weekend's new releases, including limited release titles, have "Fresh" scores, making it a fantastic weekend to head to your local cinema. Although it only opens in 500 IMAX theaters across the country this weekend, with a nationwide expansion planned for the following week, Everest has the potential to pull in some massive numbers this weekend. We're predicting that Everest could take third place with an estimated $13.2 million, just ahead of last weekend's winner, The Perfect Guy, in fourth place with $12.9 million, and The Visit dropping to fifth place with $11.4 million. We could be way off on Everest, but this seems like the perfect film for fans to embrace in IMAX theaters, for those who aren't into dystopian young adult thrillers or brutal mobsters. Everest currently has an 82% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Rounding out the top 10 are War Room ($4.1 million), A Walk in the Woods ($2.8 million), Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation ($2.3 million), Straight Outta Compton ($1.9 million) and No Escape ($1.3 million). Opening in limited release this weekend is Bleecker Street's Pawn Sacrifice starring Tobey Maguire, The Weinstein Company's About Ray, starring Naomi Watts, Elle Fanning and Susan Sarandon, Cinedigm's War Pigs starring Mickey Rourke and Dolph Lundgren, Cooties starring Elijah Wood and Sicario, starring Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro. Sicario has been getting a lot of Oscar buzz lately, with the drama, which currently has a 94% Rotten Tomatoes rating, set to expand nationwide on September 25.
Looking ahead to next weekend, three new movies debut in wide release, Sony Animation's comedy sequel Hotel Transylvania 2, Warner Bros.' comedy The Intern and High Top Releasing and Blumhouse's The Green Inferno. Hotel Transylvania 2 and The Intern currently don't have enough reviews on Rotten Tomatoes yet, but The Green Inferno, which was originally set to hit theaters last fall, currently has a 63% RT rating. Opening in limited release next weekend is Broad Green Pictures' 99 Homes starring Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon, Drafthouse's The Keeping Room starring Hailee Steinfeld and Sam Worthington, A24 Films' Mississippi Grind starring Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn, and Stonewall, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Be sure to check back on Sunday for the box office estimates, and again on Tuesday for next week's estimates. Until then, take a look at our projected top 10 for this weekend.
PREDICTED WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: