Shane Black's The Predator was not a box office success. The franchise launched back in 1987 with the Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle Predator, which went on to become one of the most iconic titles of its era. Due to its success, Fox pursued followups, but failed to hit the mark multiple times. Predator 2 bottomed out at just $30.6 million domestically, and 2010's Predators earned only $52 million in the States (lower than Predator's unadjusted for inflation total). The first Alien vs. Predator movie was a modest commercial hit at $80.2 million, though its critical reception was far from ideal.
The hope was that Black (who starred in the '87 original) would be able to tap into his sensibilities as a filmmaker and revitalize the Predator franchise. He had talked about wanting to make The Predator a must-see cinematic event on the level of other tentpole properties, but he fell way short of those goals. Less than a month after it opened in theaters, it's safe to say The Predator landed with a thud.
The Predator's Domestic Box Office
It's no secret The Predator didn't have the easiest path to the big screen. Black, unsatisfied with the third act, reshot the entire finale - but the changes didn't stop there. A significant amount of the film was heavily altered, with entire storylines (good guy Predators) and characters (Edward James Olmos) left on the cutting room floor. As a result, The Predator ended up as a messy genre picture that didn't feel fully developed. Most critics agreed the movie delivered high-octane (and violent) creature action, but came up well short in other areas. Nobody is expecting a Predator film to be an intimate character study, but it would have been nice if the core ensemble was somewhat memorable.
Related: The Predator Ending Explained
The mixed word-of-mouth essentially doomed the film from the get-go. Despite opening in the middle of September with holdover The Nun serving as its only high-profile competition, The Predator managed a weak $24.6 million in its first three days domestically. That figure is substantially less than the opening weekend for Alien vs. Predator ($38.2 million) and even below Predators ($24.7 million). For a movie looking to spawn multiple sequels, it was truly an inauspicious beginning.
Stumbling out of the gates, The Predator was never able to recover. In its second weekend, it fell all the way to fourth place, dropping 62.7 percent by making a measly $9.1 million. It spent the rest of September looking up at films like The House With a Clock in Its Walls and Night School, and by the time the calendar flipped to October, The Predator was toast. With the one-two combination of Venom ($80.2 million) and A Star is Born ($42.9 million) dominating the multiplex, Black's film barely registered with general audiences. In only its fourth weekend in theaters, The Predator grossed $947,358 and came in tenth place on the charts. When Predator was in its fourth weekend during the summer of '87, it made $4 million and ranked seventh.
As of this writing, The Predator has earned only $50 million domestically and is highly unlikely to match the U.S. total of the original film. That's an unfortunate development for Black and his team, but there are plenty of instances in the past where an underwhelming domestic performer is salvaged by a strong showing overseas. Sadly for The Predator, its international numbers seal its fate as one of 2018's most prominent box office disappointments.