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‘The Predator’ Tops Box Office Despite Last-Minute Controversy

Category: Art & Culture,Arts

Despite an unenthusiastic critical response and a last-minute controversy, 20th Century Fox’s “The Predator” came in first in domestic ticket sales this weekend, unseating Warner’s surprise hit “The Nun” with an estimated $24 million.

But the latest installment in the “Predator” series fell short of the $24.8 million taken in domestically during the opening weekend by its 2010 predecessor, “Predators,” while costing more than twice as much to make. (“Predators” had a production budget of roughly $40 million; “The Predator” cost Fox about $88 million to produce.) An additional $30.7 million in estimated international sales this weekend doesn’t signal that the studio will get the overseas boost it needs to turn “The Predator” into a smash — and early October movies like “Venom” and “A Star Is Born” threaten to limit the film’s longevity at the box office.

“The Predator,” directed by Shane Black and starring Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn and Keegan-Michael Key, is the fourth film in the franchise that began in 1987 with “Predator,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.” (That total does not include the two “Alien vs. Predator” crossover films.)

Last month, Fox pulled a scene from “The Predator” after learning that an actor who was to have a minor role in the film, Steven Wilder Striegel, is a registered sex offender. The studio deleted the only scene in the movie in which Mr. Striegel was to appear, but the report and the controversy surrounding it were likely on the minds of some potential audience members this weekend, particularly given Mr. Black’s admission that he had been aware of Mr. Striegel’s status. (In a statement, the director said that he had been “misled by a friend I really wanted to believe was telling me the truth when he described the circumstances of his conviction.”)

[Our critic’s review of “The Predator”: Hunting season arrives with a smirk]

“The Nun,” which sailed past analysts’ expectations to take in $53.5 million domestically during its opening weekend last week, slowed down significantly this weekend, bringing in an estimated $18.2 million in North American ticket sales. That was still enough to earn Warner Bros. the No. 2 spot at the box office. The studio also took fifth place with “Crazy Rich Asians,” which earned an estimated $8.7 million domestically in its fifth week.

Of the top five films at the box office this weekend, “The Nun” and “Crazy Rich Asians” were the only ones not in their opening weekends.

Third place went to Lionsgate’s neo-noir comedy “A Simple Favor,” with Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively, which took in an estimated $16.1 million.

Sony’s “White Boy Rick,” which stars Richie Merritt as the real-life Detroit drug dealer Richard Wershe Jr. and Matthew McConaughey as his father, came in fourth place with an estimated $8.8 million domestically.


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