I'll admit I'm completely stymied about which of the four new releases will top the box office. Each have their positive qualities and each have drawbacks. In the end, family film Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day may have a slight edge over Dracula Untold, which could also easily be a bomb.
Wesley Lovell: The wide release offerings don't look so hot, but St. Vincent might be the most enjoyable of the limited releases.
Peter J. Patrick: Several lesser players in this year's Oscar race open, most notably J.K. Simmons in Whiplash.
Tripp Burton: The wide releases this week are dismal looking, but there is some really exciting stuff hitting the art houses.
Thomas LaTourrette: This week has a few films with strong performances that may be remembered at Oscar time. The Judge (Robert Duvall and Robert Downey, Jr.), Kill the Messenger (Jeremy Renner), and St. Vincent (Bill Murray) all sound decent, but J.K. Simmons' performance in Whiplash makes it sound like the film to see.
Of the Oscar-friendly directors working today, David Fincher is one of the few who command attention at the box office. Gone Girl should be the latest in a recent string of strong openers at the box office, though horror flick Annabelle may build on pre-Halloween anticipation and come close. Christian adaptation Left Behind will open strong with religious groups, but will not be able to top David Fincher.
Wesley Lovell: Fincher's latest looks excellent and, though others aren't as optimistic, Men, Women & Children looks engaging.
Peter J. Patrick: The Fall Film-going Season AKA Oscar Season begins with the opening of the first major Oscar contender, Gone Girl, along with a couple of minor contenders.
Tripp Burton: We could have our first major Oscar contender of the year out this week, so the season is upon us!
Thomas LaTourrette: Finally some movies worth seeing. Both The Good Lie and Men, Women & Children sound interesting, if flawed. The best should be David Fincher's Gone Girl, which should boast good performances and taut direction, and may well prove to be a major Oscar contender.
Last week, the site I use to pull data hadn't updated to reflect the new release date of The Maze Runner and, as a result, it didn't appear in our coverage. Regardless, it's not likely to top the box office a second weekend. The BoxTrolls is the first kid-targeted film in some time, which could give it a boost at the box office.
Wesley Lovell: After two superb outings, Laika brings us another stop-motion picture that looks like it will be quite something. Lilting's a good choice for the specialty auds.
Peter J. Patrick: There seems to be a little something for everyone this week.
Tripp Burton: A lot of genre films this week, so pick what you like and check it out!
Thomas LaTourrette: While The Boxtrolls does not sound like Studio Laika's best film, they usually turn out a product worth seeing. Lilting sounds like a winner of a foreign film.
It's going to be a tough competition this week between comedy This Is Where I Leave You and Liam Neeson's A Walk Among the Tombstones. I suspect it will go down to the wire, but I'm giving a slight edge to the family comedy since there are so few comedies in the marketplace at present and Neeson can be hit-or-miss.
Wesley Lovell: Kevin Smith is trying way too hard to stay relevant, Neeson's film doesn't look that great and This Is Where I Leave You has potential. On the limited side, there are a couple of films that could be good, but none that make me want to run out and see them.
Peter J. Patrick: Tusk looks reasonably interesting among the week's new releases; the rest not so much.
Tripp Burton: A lot of interesting looking films this weekend, but I could also see them all being duds.
Thomas LaTourrette: (Editor's Note: Thomas is out of town this week, so he will not be submitting data for today's chart)
There's not much else out there, so a sequel to a popular family film should do quite well, but No Good Deed is building some buzz that might put it on top.
Wesley Lovell: I'd rather see the original split version of The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby than the combined one, but if this is all there is, I guess I'll have to take it.
Peter J. Patrick: Finally a couple of possible Oscar contenders: The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby and My Old Lady, both in limited release.
Tripp Burton: More mediocre sounding titles this week...when will all the great films we are reading about at Toronto start sneaking out to us?
Thomas LaTourrette: Eleanor Rigby sounds like the best of this week's films, and hopefully it lives up to its hype. I really like Jessica Chastain, who may get a nomination for this or perhaps one of her other two big releases due later this year.
There's nothing else original releasing this coming weekend, so it wins by default.
Wesley Lovell: September's best films typically release at the specialty box office. While this week's offerings might be slight, I'm sure they'll be better than the week's only wide release.
Peter J. Patrick: The end of Summer doldrums continue. There's nothing happening at the multiplex this week.
Tripp Burton: Oh man is this a bad week of movies...I'll be home with my On Demand.
Thomas LaTourrette: Another lackluster week. Here's hoping that the rest of September offers better fare.
It looks like Guardians of the Galaxy might end up with another week at the top of the box office. Neither As Above / So Below or The November Man look like they'll do very well.
Wesley Lovell: Neither of the week's new wide releases look even remotely interesting, though a couple of interesting pieces may be coming to the specialty box office.
Peter J. Patrick: Nothing of consequence opening tis weekend - find another way to enjoy the Labor Day weekend.
Tripp Burton: The doldrums of August are in play...when does Oscar season ramp up again?
Thomas LaTourrette: The Congress sounds like it could be an interesting take on digitizing actors. Definitely the best of the weekend.
Can Sin City: A Dame to Kill For build on the niche demographic that made the first film enough of a success to warrant a second and turn this into the #1 film of the week or will the football-themed drama When the Game Stands Tall take the top spot. It could also be the romantic drama If I Stay, which if the trailer's any indication, will be beloved by fans of weepies.
Wesley Lovell: What can I say? I'm a fan of the weepie. Are You Here could be interesting, but The One I Love has more promise, as does To Be Takei while Love Is Strange will appeal to a very narrow group of people.
Peter J. Patrick: Having had an office near De La Salle High School during its record-shattering football wins I'm looking forward to this one for nostalgia reasons.
Tripp Burton: As the summer winds down, we still get some strong genre fare this week.
Thomas LaTourrette: None of these films particularly excites me, so maybe a good weekend to work in the yard or catch up on older films.
Who knows what will be on top. It could be the second weekend for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for all I know. I suspect, though, that the race for the top will be between The Expendables 3 and Let's Be Cops.
Wesley Lovell: Just to see how they messed up the source material, I'll give The Giver a go. Frank could be fun, as could Life After BethRagnarok.
Peter J. Patrick: Frank and The Giver look worth checking out, the others look like something to be avoided.
Thomas LaTourrette: Not one of these films looks that exciting. Frank seems like it might be the best of a poor weekend.
With two potential players for the young male demographic this weekend, the one with Michael Bay's name attached is likely to perform better. However, I'm honestly hoping for a flop.
Wesley Lovell: I like tornadoes. They fascinate me. Even though it looks like a lame remake of Twister, I'm still interested in checking out Into the Storm, the rest look unimpressive.
Peter J. Patrick: The heavily promoted Hundred-Foot Journey is a possible Oscar contender for Best Actress in a week of otherwise so-so new releases.
Tripp Burton: Everything this week is mostly interesting looking genre fare, so pick the genre that appeals most to you and check it out. For me, that is the disaster film!
Thomas LaTourrette: Not a very exciting group of films. Helen Mirren's charm may make The Hundred-Foot Journey worth watching, but even that may be asking too much of the great lady.
If you don't believe that Guardians of the Galaxy will dominate the weekend, you're not going to win that office pool.
Wesley Lovell: It seems like a pretty good weekend for the movies, especially the wide releases.
Peter J. Patrick: A few minor Oscar contenders opening this week.
Tripp Burton: It's an interesting series of Summer films this weekend, but it all depends on which of these off-beat films floats your boat.
Thomas LaTourrette: All four releases sound good, hard to believe in the summer. Hopefully they will live up to their hype, but in the meanwhile enjoy the bounty this weekend.
The blundering oaf that is The Rock should have no problem topping the box office. For some reason, people can't get enough of his action antics. Lucy might do ok, but will probably come in under the third week of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Wesley Lovell: I have no desire to see yet another mixture of Greek and Roman mythologies (at least where Heracles isn't paired with Zeus and Hercules paired with Jupiter as intended), but Lucy might be mind-numbing fun. Of course, on the indie front there are a lot of options including the new Woody Allen film.
Peter J. Patrick: Some seemingly pleasant summertime fare releasing this week - nothing to either improve or hurt the brain.
Thomas LaTourrette: There are some interesting actors in some not terribly exciting looking films coming out this weekend. Magic in the Moonlight seems the best of the bunch.
I hate to say it, but Disney might manage to top the new release list this week. It's possible Sex Tape could end up a big hit, but either way, it could turn out that all of them fail to top the second week of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Wesley Lovell: Of the week's new releases, I have mild interest in The Purge: Anarchy and Mood Indigo.
Peter J. Patrick: Bah humbug! No Christmas in July at the movies this week!
Tripp Burton: A crop of lackluster sequels headline a lackluster week.
Thomas LaTourrette: A lackluster set of films, mostly sequels of not great films, or Sex Tape that feels like a sequel to any Judd Apatow film. Hopefully, Mood Indigo will redeem the weekend, but am not even sure of that.
One film to rule them all. There's little doubt it will be the top banana, but could it break the $100 million threshold for the weekend? It's entirely possible.
Wesley Lovell: I went so far as to get the prior film from Netflix so I could be caught up and possibly watch this new film. On the limited release front, Boyhood is an easy winner.
Peter J. Patrick: Finally, a week with two potentially strong Oscar contenders; one for Best Picture and one for Best Special Effects.
Tripp Burton: One of my most anticipated movies of the year comes out this weekend, so I'll be there.
Thomas LaTourrette: The reboot of Planet of the Apes was surprisingly good, and this one also has strong word of mouth, so I am looking forward to it. Boyhood sounds interesting, but I am not as sure of it.
Melissa McCarthy should make another foray to the top of the box office chart if her film can out-muscle the second weekend of Transformers. It's also a holiday weekend, which means box office numbers are likely to be higher than normal, which gives her an opportunity.
Wesley Lovell: By default, I give my vote to Life Itself if for no other reason than it's the only film opening this weekend worthy of your time and money.
Peter J. Patrick: A good weekend for a barbeque, not movie-going.
Tripp Burton: It's a surprisingly light holiday weekend, and I will probably enjoy the summer weather instead of the summer movies.
Thomas LaTourrette: A rather uninspiring set of films, but the weekend may be redeemed by Life Itself, the documentary about the late Roger Ebert. That film promises to be quite good.