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‘The Predator': Why $24 Million Box Office Opening Might Be a Letdown

With an $88 million budget, the return of the Predators will need big boost from international audiences

20th Century Fox’s “The Predator” is going to need some big help from the international box office to turn a profit, as it registers a domestic opening weekend of $24 million from 4,037 screens. But early signs show that help might not come.

Today’s estimate for the Shane Black film’s opening are a drop from Saturday estimate of a $26 million start, and puts “The Predator” on the verge of seeing its opening fall below the $24.7 million launch for 2010’s “Predators.” Also, while “Predators” had a $40 million budget, “The Predator” has an $88 million budget, raising the bar for profitability.

“The Predator” will now try to follow the path set by another Fox release from a long-running horror franchise, “Alien: Covenant.” That film had a $97 million budget, opened to $36.1 million, and crashed in holdover weeks for a domestic total of just $74 million. Fortunately, stronger overseas numbers pushed it out of the red with a final global total of $240.8 million.

“The Predator,” however, earned just $30.7 million overseas for a $54.7 million global launch, compared to $76.2 million for “Alien: Covenant.”

With films like “Venom” and “A Star Is Born” promising to take over the box office in October, the runway for “Predator” is going to be small; and given the front-loaded nature of most horror films, next weekend might signal a steep drop. A big problem for “Alien: Covenant” was that it couldn’t significantly grow its audience beyond the franchise’s hardcore fans, and “The Predator” looks like it’s going to suffer the same problem as audience breakdowns showed that more than 60 percent of moviegoers who saw the film were male and over the age of 25. Critical reception hasn’t been good either with a 34 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and a C+ on CinemaScore.

Warner Bros./New Line’s “The Nun” is in second with $18.2 million, suffering the biggest drop of any film in the “Conjuring” franchise with 65 percent. However, given the film’s franchise record $53.8 million start, that was expected; and the film is still posting a higher 1o-day total than the first “Conjuring” with $85 million and more than $200 million worldwide. In the wake of this success, WB announced this past week that the next chapter in the series, “The Conjuring 3,” will be released in 2020.

In third place is Lionsgate’s “A Simple Favor,” which despite its spot on the charts has had the strongest weekend of all the new releases. Made on a $20 million budget, the film opened slightly above tracker expectations with $16 million and had the strongest critical reception with a B+ on CinemaScore and 82 percent on the Tomatometer. The film has been praised as a darker change of pace for Paul Feig, director of “Bridesmaids” and the “Ghostbusters” remake.

Completing the top five are Sony/Studio 8’s “White Boy Rick” and WB’s “Crazy Rich Asians,” both of which are estimated to make around $8 million. “Crazy Rich Asians” is currently being given the edge for the No. 4 spot with $8.8 million, putting it in position to reach a $150 million domestic total tomorrow.

“White Boy Rick,” meanwhile, is hitting studio projections but is still not seeing the start one would want to see for a film with awards aspirations. The $30 million crime drama has earned mixed reviews from critics with a 64 percent RT score while audiences have given it a B on CinemaScore.

Outside the top five is Pure Flix’s “Unbroken: Path to Redemption,” which was panned by critics with a 25 percent RT score but earned an A from Pure Flix’s typical Christian audience. The film opened to $2.2 million from 1,620 screens.