In the wake of Deadpool becoming such a massive success and redefining what R-rated films could do at the box office, I’m sure 20th Century Fox was chomping at the bit to relaunch The Predator and see if they could get this iconic franchise to the box office heights reached with ease by the Merc With A Mouth. Such expectations were not met this weekend, not even close, as the $88 million budgeted The Predator scored only $24 million over its opening weekend, a 3% dip from the opening weekend of the far cheaper to produce Predators from 2010. That’s also the worst ever opening weekend for a live-action movie opening in over 4,000 locations (The Predator was playing in 4,037 theaters this weekend) and the first in history a live-action movie opening in over 4,000 locations opened to less than $30 million.
20th Century Fox has had some major hits recently with R-rated blockbusters like the two Kingsman movies, the Deadpool films and Logan, but those all had far more cohesive marketing campaigns than The Predator, which could never really get a fully cohesive tone or storyline to gel together in its ads. To boot, this is the fourth major theatrical release to star these Predator creatures in 14 years and since only Predators is widely liked by the general public, it’s likely some franchise stagnation has set in that this tepidly received follow-up just couldn’t shake off. Its extremely frontloaded nature this weekend makes me think The Predator is looking at a final total right around $55 million domestically.
In its second weekend of release, The Nun had the sharpest second-weekend decline of any Conjuring movie, not surprising given the by-and-large mixed marks it received from critics and viewers. The Nun dropped a massive 66% this frame to gross another $18.2 million for an $85 million domestic total. The good news for Warner Bros./New Line Cinema is that they’ve already gotten their $22 million budget back multiple times over, so it’s all gravy from here on out. The Nun is on its way to a $115-120 million domestic total.
The newest Paul Feig movie, A Simple Favor, opened this weekend to $16 million, slightly ahead of pre-release expectations. That’s behind the opening weekend of other recent Fall thrillers, namely the $24 million bow of The Girl on the Train, and the lowest opening weekend for a Paul Feig directed film since Unaccompanied Minors back in December 2006. However, it’s a par for the course opening for its leading ladies, coming in about the same with the $16.8 million bow of Blake Lively’s the Shallows and the $16.6 million debut of Anna Kendrick’s Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates while it’s also the second-biggest opening weekend for Lionsgate this year (the $17.1 million bow of Acrimony is still the biggest). I’m sure Lionsgate would have preferred a $20+ million bow given the extensive marketing push they gave it and the fact that it’s their only real major release for the rest of the year that isn’t Robin Hood, but considering this cost only $20 million to make, I’d say this is still a solid start.
Getting off to a far less successful debut was White Boy Rick which opened with only $8.8 million this weekend, making it one of Matthew McConaughey’s weakest wide release debuts and the second worst opening weekend for a 2018 Sony/Columbia release that debuted immediately in wide release (only the $6.8 million bow of Superfly was worse). How did this $29 million budgeted release end up doing so poorly? This is an interesting case because the first trailer for White Boy Rick was actually really well-done, but subsequent marketing materials failed to lure audiences into this sordid tale while its run on the Fall festival circuit couldn’t build buzz because its more mixed reception was constantly getting dwarfed by a wide number of far more positively received features. This one will probably only make a little over $20 million domestically, making it the newest box office dud for Matthew McConaughey in the last few years, following Free State of Jones and Gold.
Crazy Rich Asians continued its impressive box office run this weekend as it dipped only 33% to gross another $8.7 million for a $149.5 million domestic gross. Having a larger drop this frame was Peppermint, which went down 54% for a $6 million second-weekend cume and a domestic total of $24.2 million. Meanwhile, The Meg fell 37% to gross another $3.8 million for a $137 million domestic total while Searching once again had the smallest weekend-to-weekend drop as it eased only 30% to add $3.2 million to a domestic haul that stands at $19.6 million. By tomorrow, it will become only the third limited release of 2018 to gross over $20 million domestically.
Pure Flix became a self-distributing movie studio in the wake of God’s Not Dead massive box office, but they’ve never been able to recapture the success of that film, with the studio especially struggling in the last two years, as only one film (The Case For Christ) has grossed over $10 million domestically and none of their other films in that time period getting past $6.5 million domestically. Despite being a follow-up to a blockbuster hit movie, Unbroken: Path to Redemption became the newest box office dud for the studio, grossing only $2.35 million, the fourth-worst wide release start for the studio and the second-worst for one of the studio’s releases that got launched in over 1,000 locations. In the four years since God’s Not Dead hit it big, numerous Christian movies have made waves at the box office, but none of them have managed to come from the studio that created the original God’s Not Dead. What a peculiar phenomenon that demonstrates you have to have a compelling story to get Christian audiences to come out to your movie, you can’t just theatrically release a movie from Universal’s Direct-to-Video sequel studio and think that’ll get the job done!
Rounding out the top ten was Mission: Impossible – Fallout, which fell 40% and grossed $2.3 million, giving it a $216.1 million domestic gross, taking it past Mission: Impossible 2’s domestic haul to make it the biggest Mission: Impossible ever at the domestic box office. Also falling 40% this frame was Christopher Robin, which took in another $2 million for a $95 million domestic haul to date. In its sixth weekend of release, BlacKkKlansman fell 50% to gross another $1.2 million, bringing its domestic haul up to $45.9 million. The Wife fared decently in its major location expansion as it grossed $1.2 million from 541 locations for a per-theater average of $2,269 and a solid $3.5 million domestic total to date. Operation Finale fell a harsh 58% in its third weekend of release, taking in another $1.1 million in the process for a domestic gross of $16.3 million, though that wasn’t as sharp of a drop as the second-weekend decline of God Bless The Broken Road, that one fell 67% this weekend, taking in only $455,000 for a dismal 10-day domestic haul of only $2.4 million.
Next weekend, the limited release sphere will really take off as the major award season contenders from the various studios start getting released, but for now, we have a more quiet crop of limited release newbies. Top of the pack was Lizzie, which grossed a so-so $49,892 at 4 locations for a per-theater average of only $12,473. Next up was The Riot Act, which grossed $28,275 from 9 locations for a per-theater average of $3,142. The Children Act grossed $20,362 from 3 locations for a per-theater average of $6,787, which is actually one of the best opening weekends for one of these A24/DirecTV releases (these films debut on DirecTV on-demand services about a month before their theatrical release). Museo grossed $17,500 from just one location this weekend while Science Fair, also playing in one movie theater, took in $12,250.
The top 12 movies this weekend grossed a total of $96.8 million, down 7% from this same weekend last year when It ruled the box office for the second weekend in a row. However, this is actually the second-biggest weekend ever for this timeframe, continuing the strong strength of the 2018 box office even amidst underperforming newcomers The Predator and White Boy Rick.