Box Office Predictions: 'Contraband' Avoids 'Noise,' Takes on 'Beast'

Sensei extended his streak last week. His streak at calling the correct #1 film now sits at eight straight weeks. That streak faces a tough test as three new releases could all take the top spot.

All calls this weekend are 4 day (Fri-Mon) to incorporate the holiday weekend:

1. Contraband ($24 million) – Up to a few weeks ago, this weekend appeared an easy win for “Beauty And The Beast 3D.” This is in light of the success “Lion King 3D” had last year. Things have now changed. With the success of “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” leading the way, action audiences are more likely to see “Contraband.” It also helps to have actor Mark Wahlberg star, which may attract audiences nostalgic for “The Italian Job” and hence lead to this surprise finish.

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2. Beauty And The Beast ($20 million) – Sensei did very well predicting “Lion King 3D”‘s run at the top, and the addition of the new short film “Tangled Ever After” will help this film be the prime draw for families throughout the weekend. “Contraband” will open very strong early though, making it tough to catch. “Beast” will close the gap, but we predict “Contraband” holds for the win.

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3. Joyful Noise ($15.7 million) – Dolly Parton’s latest project is fun and lively, and the film’s musical pedigree will help its box office tremendously. Queen Latifah is a very good box office draw, and as long as this film stays positive (no political or controversial sucker punches), it will do very well this weekend.

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4. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol ($14 million) – The film deserves high praise for helping set up this box office weekend. By exciting action/adventure audiences (as opposed to disappointing them), they are now returning in greater numbers. Again, this film will pull solid numbers and even jump back over “The Devil Inside,” which knocked it from the top spot last weekend.

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5. The Devil Inside ($12 million) – This horror flick posted a very high opening last weekend, but it now returns to box office reality. The film will post a significant drop much like “The Last Exorcism” did in its second week. Still, considering how inexpensive the film was to produce ($1 million), can’t complain about that profit margin.

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In other calls, look for “The Iron Lady” to pull in around $4 million off its expansion.

Sensei predicts a “Contraband” win, but how do you see it?