Shane Black's The Predator is projected to win the box office this weekend. The film is the latest installment in the Predator franchise, which launched back in 1987. That original movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger is now considered a classic of its genre, but 20th Century Fox has struggled with the various followups. Predator 2 grossed just $30.6 million total domestically, the two Alien vs. Predator films were critical duds, and 2010's Predators wasn't successful enough to get a direct sequel. The studio turned to Black (who starred in Predator) to try to bring it back.
The Predator had a fairly challenging path to the big screen, with Black reshooting the entire third act after deciding the original finale didn't work. The film also generated controversy recently when it was revealed a scene featuring a sex offender was removed from the final product. Despite all that (plus mixed reviews from critics), it looks like The Predator is still going to lead the pack at the multiplex.
According to Box Office Pro, Black's latest is estimated to earn around $29 million in its first three days. That would be the highest debut for an individual Predator movie and trail only the first Alien vs. Predator ($38.2 million) in the context of the overall franchise. The outlet notes The Predator's haul could end up being as high as $35 million depending on how things play out.
Black's goal with The Predator was to make the series more of an event that would attract large crowds. Fox would certainly like for that to be the case, as the film reportedly sets up two sequels. It'll be interesting to see what becomes of the studio's R-rated properties when the Disney merger is completed, but since the Mouse House is keen on continuing the Deadpool movies, odds are they'd develop more Predator entries if this one is a big enough hit. The Predator's budget is $88 million, meaning it needs to earn $176 million in order to break even. That figure seems reachable, especially since there won't be any more big franchise movies until Venom premieres in the first week of October. For the rest of September, The Predator has the box office basically to itself.
The Predator's path to the #1 position is made easier since it isn't facing much competition this weekend. Holdover The Nun scored a new opening weekend high for the Conjuring franchise, but horror movies tend to be front-loaded. Since The Nun received mostly negative reviews, it isn't expected to have strong legs and drop to $22 million in its second week. The rest of the top five should be rounded out by A Simple Favor, Crazy Rich Asians, and White Boy Rick.
Source: Box Office Pro