Box Office: ‘The Predator’ Invades With $2.5 Million on Thursday NightSeptember 14, 2018 2:41pm

Fox’s “The Predator” invaded the Thursday night box office with $2.5 million.

A Simple Favor,” starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively, reeled in $900,000 from Thursday night previews in North America. White Boy Rick,” meanwhile, grossed $575,000 in previews.

The Predator” has been pegged to top the domestic box office with $25 million to $32 million in its opening weekend at 4,037 sites. Its preview number fell short of “Alien: Covenant,” which made $4.2 million on Thursday night on its way to a $36 million launch last year.

The sophomore frame of “The Nun,” which has grossed $64 million in its first six days, may challenge the new installment of the “Predator” franchise for first place. Lionsgate’s mystery thriller “A Simple Favor” will likely open between $12 million and $15 million at 3,102 venues. Sony and Studio 8’s crime drama “White Boy Rick” is projected to make between $6 million and $10 million from 2,500 screens, battling for fourth place with the fifth frame of romantic-comedy hit “Crazy Rich Asians” and the second weekend of Jennifer Garner’s thriller “Peppermint.”

Hurricane Florence, which made landfall Friday morning in North Carolina, will hold down moviegoing this weekend in the the Carolinas, Virginia, and Maryland.

“Certainly, Hurricane Florence will have a major impact this weekend and as history shows, Harvey handed the industry its lowest grossing overall frame since January 1, 2017 to the present with a mere $69.6 million generated by all films over the weekend of August 25 just over a year ago and the top film earning $10.3 million,” noted Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore. “Of course this weekend has a much stronger overall lineup that will offset some of the negative impact on the bottom line nationwide.”

Prior to its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, “The Predator” found itself at the center of controversy after the studio announced it deleted a scene featuring registered sex offender Steven Wilder Striegel. Fox said it was “not aware” of Striegel’s background when he was hired and director Shane Black has apologized for casting his friend.

The new “Predator” follows the titular aliens, who return to Earth, now deadlier than ever before after taking the DNA of other species.

Black is directing from a script he co-wrote with Fred Dekker. John Davis has returned to produce after producing the three previous installments. The cast includes Jacob Tremblay, Sterling K. Brown, Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Alfie Allen, Thomas Jane, Augusto Aguilera, Jake Busey, and Yvonne Strahovski.

The 1987 original was directed by John McTiernan, and starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, and Jesse Ventura as commandos attempting to rescue hostages while being stalked in a jungle in Central America by a fearsome extraterrestrial, played by Kevin Peter Hall. The original “Predator” debuted to $12 million on its way to $59 million. “Predator 2” took in $57 million worldwide in 1990 and “Predators” earned $127 million globally in 2010.

In “A Simple Favor,” Kendrick portrays a small-town blogger who tries to solve the disappearance of her mysterious best friend, played by Lively. “Crazy Rich Asians” star Henry Golding plays Lively’s character’s husband. Paul Feig produced and directed the thriller from Jessica Sharzer’s script, adapted from Darcey Bell’s novel.

“White Boy Rick” stars Richie Merritt as Richard Wershe Jr., who became a drug kingpin and FBI informant in the 1980s in Detroit before he was 16. Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bruce Dern, Bel Powley, Piper Laurie, and Matthew McConaughey also star.

Pure Flix is releasing “Unbroken: Path to Redemption,” a faith-based “spiritual sequel” to Angelina Jolie’s 2014 drama “Unbroken,” with the title tracking in the $3 million range at 1,525 locations. Jolie is not involved with the pic, directed by Harold Cronk from a script by Richard Friedenberg and Ken Hixon.

With the fall season underway, the overall domestic box office remains well ahead of 2017 with $8.52 billion as of Sept. 12, according to comScore.

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