It's been eight years since the last film in the long-running Predator franchise, but audiences finally return to the hunt this weekend with the release of The Predator. Shane Black's relaunch is the biggest new release this weekend and it has been tracking to have the best opening weekend in the franchise. The Predator got a head start on its box office run last night, making $2.5 million in Thursday night preview screenings.
The Predator now has $2.5 million in the bank ahead of what is forecasted to be a $25-$30 million weekend, according to Deadline. That should give The Predator a decent shot at snagging first place at the box office. For comparison, the similarly R-rated Alien: Covenant posted $4.2 million from preview screenings ahead of a $36 million weekend. The best opening for a film with the Predator in it was Alien Vs. Predator, which made $38.2 million when it debuted in 2004, although it is up for debate whether that really counts as a Predator film. The best debut for a proper Predator film was Predators, which made $24.7 million opening weekend, a number The Predator is tracking to beat.
In a contest of killing prowess, the Predator has no equal, but at the box office, The Predator will be facing some stiff competition for the #1 spot in the form of The Nun. The Conjuring Universe film overcame bad reviews to set a record for that franchise last weekend, and it is still looking strong this weekend. The Nun is tracking to make around $25 million in the next few days, but The Predator is projected to edge it out at the box office.
This weekend has no shortage of R-rated fare with White Boy Rick and A Simple Favor also debuting. White Boy Rick, the Matthew McConaughey film based on a true story, made $575K in preview screenings last night and is tracking at around $8-$10 million for the weekend. A Simple Favor boasts the best reviews of this weekend's new releases and made $900K in previews on its way to a weekend that should fall somewhere in the mid-teens.
Thursday night's $2.5 million isn't a bad start for The Predator, and if it lives up to the tracking, it will be well on its way to recouping its $88 million budget. That The Predator is looking to perform this well speaks to the nostalgia for the franchise and audience desire for this kind of movie. There are a lot of internal and external forces that you might think would make matters more difficult for The Predator's box office prospects but they do not appear to be doing so. The sex offender controversy that popped up last week has become a story around the film, and even ignoring that unfortunate situation, The Predator is not doing particularly well critically, sitting at 34% on Rotten Tomatoes. That said, some people really dug it. There is also the fact the East Coast is dealing with Hurricane Florence, but it looks like The Predator doesn't mind a little rain.