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Box office preview: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, Black Mass

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Fall movie season is officially here, and a diverse slate of new releases is hitting theaters this weekend. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and Black Mass are expected to bring in big box office receipts, with Scorch Trials on track to win the weekend with $35 million or more. Additional releases from the faith-based Captive and the adventure drama Everest (in limited IMAX release only) should make it a busy weekend at the box office.

Here’s how this weekend’s top five might shape up:

1. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials — $35 million

The first Maze Runner, adapted from James Dashner’s series of young adult novels, opened this time last year to $32.5 million, going on to gross more than $102 million domestically. Scorch Trials picks up where the previous installment left off, trading the enormous maze for a shriveled wasteland, and it’s eyeing a slightly higher debut of about $35 million, which should easily put it in first place.

2. Black Mass — $22 million

Many are calling Black Mass a return-to-form for Johnny Depp, who has suffered a series of high-profile flops, both critically and at the box office. Scott Cooper’s Whitey Bulger biopic, which chronicles the notorious gangster’s life in Boston, is on track for a debut in the low-20s, but some tracking services are predicting that it could go even higher.

3. The Perfect Guy — $10.4 million

The Perfect Guy opened to a better-than-expected $25.9 million last weekend, becoming the fifth straight movie led by African-American actors to win the box office. So far, it’s performed similarly to another Screen Gems thriller, No Good Deed, which opened the same weekend last year to $24.3 million. Deed, starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson, dropped about 60 percent in its second weekend; it’s likely Perfect Guy will bring in about $10.4 million this weekend.

4. The Visit — $10.2 million

Although The Perfect Guy officially topped the box office last weekend, it essentially tied with M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit, which ended the weekend less than $500,000 behind for a total of $25.4 million. The Visit has been widely hailed as Shyamalan’s best film in years, and it’s another win for producer Jason Blum, whose microbudget horror movies tend to bring in big box-office receipts. If The Visit performs similarly to other Blum horror flicks, it should see a drop of about 60 percent, which will put it (again) just behind The Perfect Guy.

5. War Room — $6 million

Since opening in late August, the faith-based drama War Room has held up extremely well week-to-week, earning a domestic total of $41.4 million so far. It’s expected to keep its place in the top five, but it could see some competition from Everest, which is opening exclusively in IMAX and 3-D. Based on a disastrous 1996 expedition, Everest could earn between $5 and $6 million this weekend before going wide on Sept. 25.

This weekend’s other new release, Captive, stars Kate Mara as a woman taken hostage by an escaped convict (David Oyelowo). Debuting in 800 locations, Captive is expected to perform similarly to 90 Minutes in Heaven, another faith-based drama that opened last weekend to $2 million.

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