The weekend on or before Valentine's Day has become hot real estate for any burgeoning franchise to make its bones. Just ask 50 Shades of Grey and Deadpool - the two most recent victors of that box office frame, and they'll tell you that when you hit it big on that weekend, you're likely to knock it out of the park. Which is good, because The Predator has decloaked in a new release date, and it's right in the middle of that same ballpark – on February 9, 2018!

Shane Black's return to the world of the Predator franchise saw its release date upgrade announced when Fox announced the release dates for The Maze Runner: The Death Cure, Morgan, and a host of other Fox titles being launched between this September and July 2018. As Deadline pointed out in their coverage, Black's new entry in the series was originally supposed to drop on March 2nd, 2018, which would have seen the film compete with the prehistoric shark picture Meg. Instead, Fox decided an untitled Marvel project was a better fit to take on a creature of such historical proportions.

What does this say about The Predator from the angle of the studio? Well, it seems like a big vote of confidence to see Fox not only move the release date up by any stretch, but also to put it on such a prestigious early year release platform. With couples and genre fans clogging the cinemas on that weekend in February, a lot of asses will be in the seats of your local multiplex. And as shown with their release of Deadpool this past February, it's no longer merely a weekend to release your latest Nicholas Sparks film without competition. February is now another unofficial major release date, akin to the usual tentpole releases you'd see in the heat of summer, or the cool of the fall.

More importantly, Fox's rescheduling of The Predator seems to be a sign that the studio is very enthusiastic about whatever Shane Black has up his sleeve with this new hunting trip. It's still too early to have any specifics about what the contemporary sequel will contain, but with merely a tangential mention of Arnold Schwarzenegger's character, Dutch, could send anyone's imagination spinning with the possibilities. Though the rumor of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson possibly being in line to take the lead role in The Predator is also a tasty enough suggestion to not only get Fox to fast track the project, but to also award the film a prime release date.

The Predator is now set for a February 9, 2018 release date, but you can see Shane Black's latest cinematic offering, The Nice Guys, in theaters now. Which is something you totally should do.

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