The Predator took the top spot at the weekend box office, but 20th Century Fox is probably not popping corks on champagne bottles after a relatively middling $24 million opening. That puts it narrowly behind of Nimród Antal’s 2010 entry, Predators ($24.7 million), but that film only cost $40 million to make while Shane Black’s entry, the sixth in the series (counting the Alien vs. Predator movies), cost $88 million to bring to the screen. The extra $48 million spent clearly didn’t boost the results. Even with the talent of Shane Black (the original film’s writer) on board as director, it’s something of a mystery as to why Fox would spend $88 million on a film when none of the six films have made that much money at the domestic box office. Only two (the original Predator and Alien vs. Predator) managed to earn that much, even when adjusted for inflation.
Granted, it didn’t help that neither critics nor the older-skewing audience cared much for the film. It’s sitting at a measly 34 percent on Rotten Tomatoes (and based on some reviews I’ve read, that’s generous), while audiences gave it a measly C+ Cinemascore. Clearly, fans of the original have been burned by too many bad sequels, and when the reviews came in on this one and confirmed the same, some of the franchise’s faithful bailed. It likely didn’t help, either, that the movie’s biggest social-media star, Olivia Munn, was mired in an unfortunate controversy all week, and while she certainly brought a lot of attention to the film, little of it was positive (although there was some good to come out of it).
However, the difference between the 2010 Predators and 2018’s The Predator may be the growing international box office. While the original brought in a fairly tepid $52 million overall, it added $75 million overseas, and The Predator is likely to best that thanks to a robust international box office when it comes to action pics. Even still, after marketing and production cost, plus the split with exhibitors, The Predator will struggle mightily to break even.
Paul Feig’s A Simple Favor didn’t take the top spot at the box office, but it did narrowly exceed expectations, and with a $16.2 million haul this weekend, it’s sitting pretty thanks to a modest $20 million production spend. It certainly benefited from strong reviews (82 percent at the box office) and a well-liked cast (Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, and Henry Golding coming off of Crazy Rich Asians), and audiences who saw the film, in turn, appreciated what they saw onscreen (moviegoers gave it a B+). This one obviously didn’t put up the same numbers as some Feig’s past work (Ghostbusters, Spy, Heat, Bridesmaids), but it’s likely to double its budget domestically, double it again overseas, and do very well in the home digital market, as this film seems perfectly suited to a Saturday night viewing on the couch. It’s not a huge win, but it’s a win.
The $16 million gross, however, was not enough to take down last week’s number one film, The Nun, which fell a precipitous 66 percent to $18 million (a not unusual fall for horror films, especially poorly reviewed ones). The Nun, however, is doing just fine, having earned $85 million in ten days on a skimpy $22 million price tag (and that’s not even including the more than $100 million it made last week internationally).
The big disappointment this week, however, was White Boy Rick, the Matthew McConaughey film — based on a true story — that failed to score big at the box office, earning a scant $8.8 million. The film, which cost $29 million to make, is the sort of movie that needs great reviews to sell it, and those never materialized. Sixty-four percent on Rotten Tomatoes isn’t bad, but it isn’t enough to get its older demographic off their couches to go see another solid McConaughey performance in theaters (and a mediocre B Cinemscore is not going to help in the coming weeks). The film is also not likely to generate much interest internationally, either, so unless it gets a Hail Mary awards push, it will go the way of a film like Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit, which crapped out at about $16 million in 2017, rather than another based-on-a-true-story film like Tom Cruise’s American Made, which earned $130 million worldwide after its release last September.
Most of the rest of the top ten this week were holdovers, save for a faith-based sequel to Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken called Unbroken: Path to Redemption, which barely made a dent at the box office. It opened with $2.8 million.
Crazy Rich Asians, however, continues to play well. In the five spot this weekend, it earned $8.7 million this weekend to bring its total to $150 million. Jennifer Garner’s Peppermint has at least made good on its $25 million budget, earning an additional $6 million in its second weekend to bring its total to $24 million.
The Meg, now in its sixth week, put up another $4.3 million to bring its total to $137 million (surpassing $500 million worldwide), while John Cho’s Searching has fetched almost $20 million after its $3.2 million weekend. Finally, sneaking in at number 10 in likely the final weekend in the top ten is Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible — Fallout, which earned $2.3 million and finally managed to become the highest grossing film of the franchise in North America with $216 million (plus another $522 million overseas).
Eli Roth and his kids fantasy-horror flick The House With A Clock In Its Walls will endeavor and likely succeed in toppling The Predator next weekend, while This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman hits theaters with Oscar Isaac’s Life Itself. Michael Moore will also return to theaters with his latest documentary Fahrenheit 11/9, which will tackle the Trump presidency.