Written by Dapo Olowu

There’s a new film this weekend for (nearly) everyone, with U.S. cinemagoers spoilt for choice between murdering monsters, missing mates, pre-pubescent peddlers, and religious re-awakenings.

If the alliteration doesn’t impress, then perhaps the fact that all four new entries aim to finish in the top ten – a feat that hasn’t been achieved since March – will. Clawing its way to the top of this pile is one of the more controversial films of the year, 20th Century Fox’s ‘The Predator’, which struggles to remain in the spotlight for the right reasons.

The continuation of the ‘Predator’ franchise, which first burst onto screens in 1987 and starred Arnold Schwarzenegger (as well as director Shane Black), hopes to better the series’ best opening of $38.3m, when $60m-budgeted ‘Aliens Vs. Predator’ opened in 2004. This time around, the action flick costs a pricey $88m before marketing, and its 35% Rotten Tomatoes rating isn’t exactly alluring.

However, it’s not even the critical reception that’s the main talking point – people aren’t necessarily expecting a cinematic masterpiece. Shane Black’s decision to cast a registered sex offender has left cast-members (especially Olivia Munn, who shared a scene with the man) and the general public enraged, especially in the midst of the #MeToo movement in Hollywood.

The result? ‘The Predator’s original forecasts of a $35m+ opening continue to drop by the day in the midst of poor PR. The film, originally was meant to star Benicio del Toro, 50 Cent, and even Arnie himself, still brags a star lineup, with the aforementioned Munn joined by Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, and Sterling K. Brown. It follows the attack of a new group of predators, and the attempts to stop them.

Other sci-fi action films, or monster movies in a similar vein leave the film opening in the $35m+ region, and we at JUMPCUT think a $30m opening is bang on the money, leaving it well clear of last weekend’s winner ‘The Nun’, but well below even that of 2017s ‘Alien: Covenant’ ($36.2m).

A Simple Favor’, Paul Feig’s adaptation of last year’s book of the same name, looks to target an entirely different crowd than ‘The Predator’s, and aims to kick off with a $20m start. Starring Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, and ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Henry Golding, it involves a blogger’s search for her missing best friend.

As recent female-centric book adaptations go, ‘Gone Girl’s $37.5m opening and ‘A Girl on the Train’s $24.5m makes for good reading. Coupled with Paul Feig’s excellent recent track record this decade (his films have all opened to at least $26m), there’s no reason why ‘ASF’ couldn’t open higher – although the R-rated competition already prevalent in newbies ‘The Predator’ and ‘White Boy Rick’ hinders potential growth.

The latter, which holds possibly the best film title of the year so far, opens in just 2,500 cinemas, compared to ‘The Predator’s 4,037 and ‘A Simple Favor’s 3,102. It’s a remarkable story, about the youngest FBI informant in history, 14-year-old Richard Wershe Jr. Starring Richie Merritt as Rick, and Matthew McConaughey as his father, the crime drama should open close to last month’s ‘BlacKkKlansman’, with around $9.6m, just ahead of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ at $8.2m, and ‘Peppermint’ at $6m.

Finally, in our last new entry we have Harold Cronk’s second effort in consecutive weekends, with Christian-biopic ‘Unbroken: Path to Redemption’ following ‘God Bless the Broken Road’. The spiritual sequel to Angelina Jolie’s 2014 hit ‘Unbroken’ (without any of the same cast, mind you) has a more religious focus this time around, a feature renowned in Cronk’s previous work (‘God’s Not Dead’, ‘God’s Not Dead 2’, ‘Jerusalem Countdown’). It’ll be right amongst the competition with its $3.5m gross, battling ‘The Meg’ ($3.5m), ‘Searching’ ($2.8m), and ‘Disney’s Christopher Robin’ ($2.2m).

We’re optimistic this Box Office weekend, predicting 3 films to gross $20m or over. Will ‘A Simple Favor’ hit the mark? Will ‘The Predator’ succumb to the negativity? Let us know what you think on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at JUMPCUT_ONLINE.