Weekend Forecast for September 14-16, 2018

By Reagen Sulewski

September 14, 2018

That predator is hot.

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It's Hype Weekend at the movies, as a trio of films arrives with significant amounts of press and attention, some for the right reasons, some for... not that.

Predator was not the most successful action franchise of the 1980s, grossing just $59 million at the time, equivalent to around $140 million now, putting it roughly equivalent to The Meg. For whatever reason, it's hung around in the collective consciousness, spawning two direct sequels, a cross-over with the Alien franchise, a comic book and now this new film The Predator. This despite very little of the content produced from it being very good.

Directed by Shane Black, a star of the original film with Arnold Schwarzenegger and a growing legend in action films (he made the manliest of the Iron Man films, Iron Man 3), The Predator brings the action into suburbia as a little boy (a staple of Black's films) discovers an abandoned Predator weapon, summoning the alien race of ultimate hunters to Earth where they declare open season on man. A team of mercenaries then goes to war against them, attempting to stop an invasion that would lead to the utter annihilation of the human race.

Key figures in this one include Sterling K. Brown, Keegan Michael-Key, Jacob Tremblay and Olivia Munn – the latter of which brought the film into the open thanks to her pointing out that she actually did some of her scenes against a friend of Black's who happened to be a registered sex offender, which she didn't know about (to be 100 per cent clear, I think Munn was perfectly correct to complain about not being told). His scene was eventually cut, but this became “the story” about the film, which is kind of unfortunate for a film that's all about goofy alien bounty hunters. And it does look kind of fun! If Black can apply his blend of hyper-machoism and crisp humor like in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang or The Nice Guys, there's a great chance for a Predator film to be relevant again. But... if.

Reviews are pretty miserable and the momentum of the film seems to be lost amidst the bad press. There's enough residual affection for this series to get it a decent opening weekend, but past that we're likely looking at a quick smash and dash. Though hey, if that Robocop reboot can open to 20+, and Predators with Topher freaking Grace can hit 24, there has to be room for this Predator. I'd expect around $28 million this weekend.

An unlikely source brings us A Simple Favor, an adaptation of a noirish potboiler. Paul Feig, better known for the Melissa McCarthy films Spy and Bridesmaids, tackles the world of suburban style and intrigue as mommy vlogger Anna Kendrick starts a friendship with the beautiful and mysterious Blake Lively, who lives what seems to be the perfect life, along with her hunky author husband (Henry Golding, not missing a beat after Crazy Rich Asians). When Lively suddenly goes missing, the investigation starts to uncover just how disturbed her life really was.


With the mix of Feig, and his primarily comedic background, Kendrick, playing heavily into her “aren't I so awkward and weird” vibe and Lively, drifting ethereally through her own movie, this really ought to be a giant mess. And yet, reviews have this as one of the better noirs in some time, praising its style and plotting. There's more than a little Gone Girl vibe with a couple of Instagram filters laid overtop. It almost feels like a high society version of Wild Things, though without the insane plotting. This feels like it will live and die mostly on Lively's presence, and it's a pretty great utilization of her. It's hard to see this throwing under The Age of Adeline and its $13 million opening, so let's put it about there.

White Boy Rick arrives with muted buzz from the Toronto Film Festival. The story of Richard Wershe, Jr., it's a true crime story about the youngest ever informant for the FBI, who was working with them at the age of 14 while involved in the Detroit drug trafficking trade. After he was deemed unnecessary for their purposes, he went into business for himself, eventually being sentenced to life in prison for possession of a Escobarish amount of cocaine.

First time actor Richie Merritt plays the title character, with Matthew McConaughey anchoring the film as his father with Brian Tyree Henry, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Bruce Dern as other notable names in the film. It's a bit of a travelogue through the rough and tumble 80s of urban Detroit. The cost of the drug war is seen in pretty stark terms, though this is a little strange way to go about it since we're talking about someone who was actively ruining lives at a pretty young age. Reviews are solid if unremarkable but it's about the 756th tour through this material and it seems to be a pretty unrelenting slog. I'd expect around $8 million this weekend.

The Nun should get a second crack at top spot after its surprising $53 million bow. The continuation of the Conjuring Universe (cause *that's* a thing) got the largest opening so far for it and is already around halfway to the highest grossing film in the franchise. Horror rarely has legs, and I don't see this being an exception, but about $27 million seems right here and will make it interesting for top spot.

Crazy Rich Asians took its first substantial hit, dropping 40 per cent in its fourth weekend, possibly signalling an end date for this phenomenon. I don't anticipate A Simple Favor having any significant impact on this since it's both a different kind of movie, and because Golding isn't really being used as a huge selling point for it. Some of that drop will have been because of calendar effects (a little Labor Day hangover) but it's not likely to regain its leggy ways. I'd expect $8 million this weekend.

Peppermint had a relatively solid debut with $13 million, which is more than you might expect for a Jennifer Garner revenge movie. Openly being set up as a potential franchise, that seems a little unlikely with that number, but it's a respectable start given everything else. I'd look for about $7 million this weekend.

Forecast: Weekend of September 14-16, 2018
Number of
Changes in Sites
from Last
Gross ($)
1 The Predator 4,037 New 28.4
2 The Nun 3,876 0 26.8
3 A Simple Favor 3,102 New 13.8
4 White Boy Rick 2,504 New 8.6
5 Crazy Rich Asians 3,385 -480 8.4
6 Peppermint 2,980 0 7.3
7 The Meg 2,851 -660 3.9
8 Searching 2,009 0 3.0
9 Mission: Impossible - Fallout 2,671 -573 2.8
10 Christopher Robin 1,902 -616 2.5



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