The Predator Movie Review

There are moments in The Predator where it feels like the franchise went the route of 80s slasher series when Freddy, Jason, and Michael ruled the day. With the alien creatures roaming the suburbs for a brief stretch and with some deliriously gory bits and extreme profanity, I could imagine this is as the fifth installment when the well is running dry. This could maybe be Predator V following Predator In Harlem or something. It’s a time in the series when ridiculous and probably offensive characters like an autistic kid who’s actually deemed an enhancement in human evolution is introduced. The main protagonist would be dull and boring, not close to matching Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1987 original or even Danny Glover’s overburdened LAPD officer in the 1990 sequel. And the one-liners would harken back to the rock solid first one but generally be lamer.

Strangely enough, it’s some of that which makes the 2018 edition mindless fun in the first half. This isn’t anything of quality, but it serves as an occasional guilty pleasure VHS throwback that would have filled the shelves of those defunct rental institutions. I think director Shane Black and co-writer Fred Dekker know that. Black has turned into a fine filmmaker with action comedies like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and The Nice Guys. He’s known mostly for his behind the scenes work, but he memorably played the role of Hawkins in Predator’s big screen debut 31 years ago.

The screenplay makes some downright bizarre choices. Jacob Tremblay’s aforementioned autistic kid is one of them. His Special Forces dad Quinn (Boyd Holbrook) is that forgettable head alien battler. Holbrook discovers a title character on a mission and ships some evidence of its existence to his boy. That leads the extraterrestrial to the ‘burbs to retrieve his property. Quinn finds himself detained by the government led by shady Sterling K. Brown and in the company of a motley crew of PTSD soldiers. They include Trevante Rhodes (whose primary character trait is that he smokes), Thomas Jane (he has Tourette’s), and Keegan-Michael Key (yo mama jokes). They’re the guys, along with Olivia Munn’s biologist, who fight not only two Predators, but the space dogs that accompany them. That’s another odd visual choice.

I couldn’t help but be fascinated by Black and Dekker’s outright nuttiness with their take on The Predator. However, it doesn’t last. By the third act, the pic moves to a jungle looking setting with some dodgy effects. We’re hammered with familiarity. That’s what made famous predators like Freddy and Jason and Michael grow stale, but their countless sequels were punctuated with an inspired sequence here and there. We see that early in this reboot and then not really again.

** (out of four)

Box Office Predictions: September 28-30

**Blogger’s Note (09/27/18): My estimates for Night School and Smallfoot has risen slightly to $31.6 million and $23 million respectively.

It could be a battle for the #1 spot at the box office as September closes with the Kevin Hart/Tiffany Haddish comedy Night School and the animated Warner Bros family pic Smallfoot debuting. We also have the Halloween theme park set horror flick Hell Fest opening. You can peruse my detailed individual prediction posts on the trio here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/18/night-school-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/18/smallfoot-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/20/hell-fest-box-office-prediction/

Before we get to the heavy hitters, the Pure Flix version of Little Women is also out Friday on a low 600 or so screens. I didn’t do a separate post for it and I’m not expecting much out of it. I’ll put its premiere at just $1.1 million.

Kevin Hart has shown his potency at the box office repeatedly with several openings north of $30 million. I don’t have Night School reaching quite that high, but my mid to late 20s estimate is enough to project it will top the lower to mid 20s gross of Smallfoot. 

Competition for Smallfoot will include the second weekend of The House with a Clock in Its Walls, which performed on the higher end of expectations out of the gate. It should drop to third place with A Simple Favor in fourth.

The five-spot is where I expect Hell Fest to compete. Horror movies always have the capacity to outdo expectations, but I’m not seeing much fanfare for this one. My mid single digits prediction could put it in range with the fourth weekend of The Nun.

And with that, a top 6 take on the weekend ahead:

1. Night School

Predicted Gross: $31.6 million

2. Smallfoot

Predicted Gross: $23 million

3. The House with a Clock in Its Walls

Predicted Gross: $15.3 million

4. A Simple Favor

Predicted Gross: $7 million

5. Hell Fest

Predicted Gross: $5.6 million

6. The Nun

Predicted Gross: $5.5 million

Box Office Results (September 21-23)

As anticipated, The House with a Clock in Its Walls topped the charts with a solid $26.6 million (ahead of my $23.2 million take). The Jack Black family pic, as mentioned, hit the better end of estimates. Considering its reported $40 million budget, this should be a nice hit for Universal.

A Simple Favor elevated from third place to second place in its sophomore weekend with $10.2 million, in line with my $10.6 million projection. Its total stands at $32 million.

The Nun crossed the $100 million mark placing third with $9.9 million (ahead of my $8.4 million estimate). Only Annabelle of the Conjuring Cinematic Universe didn’t manage to join the century club and The Nun appears poised to be the franchise’s second largest earner behind The Conjuring.

The Predator dipped mightily in weekend #2 to fourth place with a 63% fall and $9.1 million (I said $10 million) for $40 million overall.

Crazy Rich Asians was fifth with $6.3 million (I went with $5.9 million) for $159 million overall.

The newcomers besides Clock all failed to connect with moviegoers. Michael Moore’s doc (despite significant publicity) was a flop. While Fahrenheit 9/11 took in nearly $24 million in its first weekend in the summer of 2004, 11/9 managed a paltry $3 million for 8th place. I predicted $5 million.

Life Itself couldn’t overcome overwhelmingly negative reviews and the drama from “This Is Us” creator Dan Fogelman was 11th with a putrid $2.1 million. I was a bit higher at $3.8 million.

I didn’t make a prediction on the blog for Assassination Nation (though I said $1.2 million on Fantasy Movie League), but it was another bad opening in 15th place with $1 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: September 21-23

The family fantasy film The House with a Clock in Its Walls looks to get its hands on the #1 spot at the box office this weekend as it opens alongside the Michael Moore political doc Fahrenheit 11/9 and ensemble drama Life Itself. If you missed my detailed prediction posts on that trio, you can find them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/11/the-house-with-a-clock-in-its-walls-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/15/fahrenheit-11-9-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/15/life-itself-box-office-prediction/

My low to mid 20s forecast for Clock should be more than enough for it to top the charts. The rest of the top 5 could be a bit more interesting. The Predator had a so-so debut and I look for it to experience a pretty hefty drop. Same goes for The Nun in its third weekend. A Simple Favor, on the other hand, could experience a solid hold in its sophomore frame.

As for the newcomers, my measly $3.8 million projection for Life Itself leaves it outside the top 5 while Fahrenheit ($5 million estimate) could battle for Crazy Rich Asians for that five-spot. And with that, my take on the weekend ahead:

1. The House with a Clock In Its Walls

Predicted Gross: $23.2 million

2. A Simple Favor 

Predicted Gross: $10.6 million

3. The Predator

Predicted Gross: $10 million

4. The Nun

Predicted Gross: $8.4 million

5. Crazy Rich Asians

Predicted Gross: $5.9 million

Box Office Results (September 14-16)

The Predator opening in first place was never really in doubt, but its $24.6 million debut didn’t impress much. It came in a bit under my $27.4 million estimate. Mostly negative reviews didn’t help and I look for this to experience a decline of over 50% this coming weekend.

After posting a franchise best haul for the Conjuring Cinematic Universe, The Nun saw the largest second weekend drop (66%) to $18.2 million (I was a little higher at $19.8 million). The two-week tally stands at $85 million.

Returns were decent for A Simple Favor as it opened in third with $16 million (a bit under my $17.9 million prediction). I see it experiencing the best hold for next weekend and having a real chance at rising to second place (considering the potential dips for The Predator and The Nun).

White Boy Rick premiered in fourth place with an unremarkable $8.8 million, on pace with my $8.7 million estimate. The crime drama also suffered from mixed reviews and it couldn’t manage to get older moviegoers interested.

Crazy Rich Asians rounded out the top five with $8.6 million (I said $8.2 million) to bring its total to $149 million.

Finally, faith-based sequel Unbroken: Path to Redemption gained no traction with audiences earning just $2.2 million for 10th place (I said $2.5 million).

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: September 14-16

A quartet of new titles make their way to multiplexes this weekend: franchise reboot The Predator, Anna Kendrick/Blake Lively thriller A Simple Favor, crime drama White Boy Rick with Matthew McConaughey, and “spiritual sequel” Unbroken: Path to Redemption. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/05/the-predator-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/05/a-simple-favor-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/06/white-boy-rick-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/06/unbroken-path-to-redemption-box-office-prediction/

The Predator should have little trouble hitting the top spot, but I do have it on the lower end of the expectation range in the mid to high 20s.

The Nun got off a terrific start (more on that below) and I do expect a rather large decline due to both front loaded business and fairly poor word of mouth (a C Cinemascore grade). A drop in the low to mid 60s is feasible here and horror pics often have significant declines anyway.

A Simple Favor is intriguing. I believe it should place third and I have it managing to reach its intended female audience with a healthy showing at the top end of estimates.

White Boy Rick has generated zero awards buzz after its Telluride premiere and I’m having trouble seeing it hit double digits. That would put it in fourth.

Even though Peppermint just outdid Crazy Rich Asians for the #2 spot this past weekend, I expect the latter to have a smaller decline and get the five-spot.

As for Unbroken: Path to Redemption, my lowly $2.5 million forecast puts it well outside the top 5.

And with that, my top 5 estimates for the weekend:

1. The Predator

Predicted Gross: $27.4 million

2. The Nun

Predicted Gross: $19.8 million

3. A Simple Favor

Predicted Gross: $17.9 million

4. White Boy Rick

Predicted Gross: $8.7 million

5. Crazy Rich Asians

Predicted Gross: $8.2 million

Box Office Results (September 7-9)

Warner Bros was in full sister act level celebration mode this weekend as The Nun conquered the charts. The fifth entry in the Conjuring Cinematic Universe experienced the best debut of the franchise with $53.8 million compared to my $45.4 million projection. That’s good for the second highest September opening of all time behind last year’s It.

In a bit of a surprise, Jennifer Garner’s revenge tale Peppermint was second with a decent $13.4 million, topping my $11.8 million prediction. Overcoming poor reviews, the film reached the upper end of its projections. I see it dipping around 50% next weekend and falling out of the top five.

The three-week reign of Crazy Rich Asians came to an end as it placed third with $13.1 million (I said $14.2 million) for $135 million total.

The Meg was fourth with $6 million compared to my $5.4 million take and the shark tale has amassed $131 million.

Searching rounded out the top five with $4.5 million (in line with my $4.2 million prediction) for $14 million overall.

Finally, faith-based drama God Bless the Broken Road premiered in 11th place with a weak $1.3 million. I was a bit more generous at $2.1 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

A Simple Favor Box Office Prediction

Director Paul Feig is best known for his comedies featuring Melissa McCarthy like Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy, and Ghostbusters. He changes things up next weekend with the release of thriller A Simple Favor. It’s based on the debut novel from Darcey Bell released last year. The cast is headlined by Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, and Henry Golding (fresh off his breakthrough role in the summer blockbuster Crazy Rich Asians).

Favor could have the benefit of appealing to a female audience in the midst of more male-driven fare such as The Predator and White Boy Rick, which both open the same day. The current forecast is in the $12-$15 million area. I feel that Kendrick, Lively, and the intended demographic could cause this to debut on the high-end of that range and perhaps exceed it.

A Simple Favor opening weekend prediction: $17.9 million

For my The Predator prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/05/the-predator-box-office-prediction/

For my White Boy Rick prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/06/white-boy-rick-box-office-prediction/

For my Unbroken: Path to Redemption prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/06/unbroken-path-to-redemption-box-office-prediction/

The Predator Box Office Prediction

Over three decades ago, Shane Black costarred in the classic sci-fi adventure tale Predator. Like most cast members, he didn’t manage to survive the proceedings like Arnold Schwarzenegger did. He did go on to an impressive writing and directing career that includes the screenplays for Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, and The Long Kiss Goodnight and serving double duty for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3, and The Nice Guys. Things come full circle next weekend for Black as he directs and co-writes The Predator, the latest iteration of the long running franchise.

Not counting the two Alien vs. Predator extravaganzas, this is the fourth traditional entry in the series behind the 1987’s original, its 1990 sequel, and the 2010 reboot Predators. Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Wonder star Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, and Thomas Jane populate the human troupe battling the deadly creatures.

It’s actually the first teaming of this franchise with the Alien series that resulted in the largest debut featuring the title character in 2004 – to the tune of a $38.2 million. Predators set the high mark over parts 1 and 2 (due to inflation) with a $24.7 million start. Its overall gross was very front-loaded as it ended up with $52 million.

The eight year inflation should allow The Predator to exceed that, but I don’t see it coming close to the high 30s number that AVP achieved. I would say high 20s is the more reasonable expectation and that should allow it to place #1 at the box office (something Predators couldn’t manage in the heat of significant summer competition). As a comp for 2018, I’ve got this earning a similar debut to this spring’s Pacific Rim Uprising. 

The Predator opening weekend prediction: $27.4 million

For my A Simple Favor prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/05/a-simple-favor-box-office-prediction/

For my White Boy Rick prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/06/white-boy-rick-box-office-prediction/

For my Unbroken: Path to Redemption prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/06/unbroken-path-to-redemption-box-office-prediction/