‘Predator’ Targets So-So Number One Debut

A quartet of new films were met with consumer indifference this weekend at the North America box office. Fox’s The Predator and Lionsgate’s A Simple Plan each landed moderate business while Sony’s White Boy Rick and Pure Flix’s Unbroken: Path To Redemption both flopped right out of the gate.

With the quartet of new films delivering mediocre numbers, the top ten saw a dip of 8% from numbers one year ago at this time when IT scored a massive $60 million in its second weekend of release.

The sixth offering in the endless Predator franchise that began 31 years ago, The Predator landed on 4,037 screens to collect a mediocre $24 million in its first three days. The latest chapter was written and directed by Shane Black (The Nice Guys) and features Olivia Munn, Boyd Holbrook, Sterling K. Brown and Jacob Tremblay. The opening for the $88 million production was the third best of the franchise, just behind 2004’s Alien Vs. Predator ($38 million) and 2010’s Predators ($24.7 million).

Despite the eight-year gap between Predators and the new film, few appeared to be anticipating another Predator film. The critics definitely were not, giving the film a 34% approval on Rotten Tomatoes and a 49/100 on Metacritic. Even the Predator fan base gave the film the cold shoulder. Those polled by CinemaScore gave The Predator a “C+” on CinemaScore. Weak feedback from fans will certainly lead to a fast domestic fade for The Predator, which will put the pressure on international markets to help recoup its sizeable production and marketing costs. The foreign campaign got underway this weekend with a moderate $30 million.

Even if the opening numbers for The Predator weren’t all that great, they were enough to knock Warner/New Line’s The Nun from the top spot. Last weekend’s box office champ got the wind knocked out of her as it fell a deadly 66% in its second round on 3,876 screens. Still, despite the drop, The Nun has plenty to be thankful for. After only ten days, the $22 million production has bagged a big $85 million and should finish its run with a profitable $110 million. Additionally, foreign markets have contributed $143.6 million so far.

After the disastrous reboot of Ghostbusters two years ago, filmmaker Paul Feig has come out of hiding with a new film, the dark comedy A Simple Favor. Starring Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick, the R-rated Lionsgate release opened on 3,102 screens this weekend to earn a moderate $16 million. Favor scored well with the critics and somewhat well with audiences, which could help it become a midsized hit. A Simple Favor scored an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes, a 68/100 on Metacritic and a “B+” on CinemaScore.

Opening in fourth place with a meek $8.8 million from 2,504 venues was the Sony drama White Boy Rick. Headlining Matthew McConaughey and Richie Merritt and based on true events, the $30 million White Boy Rick scored better with critics than it did with the public, although not by much. Rick hustled up a Rotten Tomatoes score of 64% and a Metacritic rating of 60/100 while ticket buyers gave the film an okay “B” on CinemaScore.

Rounding out the top five was Warner’s smash hit Crazy Rich Asians with an estimated $8.7 million from 3,385 theaters. Down 34%, Asians has collected a wealthy $149.5 million after five weeks. A final domestic haul near the $170 million is possible. Internationally, the romantic comedy has earned $38 million so far.

  1.  Peppermint (STX) $6 million (-55%); $20 million
  2.  The Meg (Warner) $3.8 million (-38%); $137 million
  3.  Searching (Sony) $3.2 million (-30%); $20 million
  4.  Unbroken: Path to Redemption (Pure Flix) $2.35 million

An unofficial sequel to the 2014 Angelina Jolie-directed feature Unbroken, Path to Redemption was a bust with the critics. The small amount of ticket buyers who ventured out to see it, however, blessed it with an “A” on CinemaScore.

  1.  Mission: Impossible – Fallout (Paramount) $2.31 million (-40%); $216 million

Fallout officially became the highest-grossing entry in the 22-year old franchise this weekend, surpassing the $215 million final haul of Mission: Impossible 2 (pre-inflation, of course).

Next weekend sees the arrival of Fahrenheit 11/9, The House With A Clock In Its Walls and the tearjerker Life Itself. Watch for House With a Clock to kick The Predator to the curb starting next Friday.

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