With just a few hours to the premiere of Shane Black and Fred Dekker’s “The Predator”, action movie lovers are already on the top gear to catch all the thrills.
The prime media story concerning the movie is about how Shane Black cast a personal friend who happened to be a registered sex offender (and not the “got drunk and urinated an alley” kind) in a small role alongside Olivia Munn, the film’s primary female character, without telling her or anyone else. Munn found out and demanded that Fox cut the stand-alone sequence and that’s what everyone has been talking about this week in regard to the movie.
Now, on one hand, I don’t think the scandal is going to do much harm to the Fox release. Generally speaking, people who want to see a movie will still see that movie even if it gets embroiled in contextual controversy. Whether it’s months of behind-the-scenes melodrama (World War Z), a rather serious criminal allegation (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) or a major filmmaker being implicated in a sexual harassment scandal (Pixar’s Coco), people who wanted to see that movie showed up. People are often hesitant to punish themselves to send a message.
Conversely, all the free press in the world about Ridley Scott switching out Kevin Spacey for Christopher Plummer at lightning speed once Spacey was accused of decades of inappropriate behavior didn’t make a damn bit of difference to Sony’s All the Money in the World last year. So if you’re wondering why T.J. Miller wasn’t removed or substituted for Deadpool 2 ($730 million worldwide) and/or Ready Player One ($588m), it’s because the studios correctly determined that the allegations (including calling in a fake bomb threat) wouldn’t ding the movies too much on the global scale.
I’d argue that if The Predator opens significantly below its $25 million-to-$30m opening weekend projection, it’ll be less about the scandal (which, for the record, doesn’t help one bit) and more about the poor reviews for a film that belongs to a franchise that has never been all that beloved in the first place. And here’s the challenge in a nutshell: Whether by design or as a result of third-act reshoots, the Fox release has a budget of $88m. That means The Predator has to be the biggest Predator movie ever just to break even.
It may be that the extensive reshoots did a number on the planned production budget. The Predator is a lot more expensive than Predator ($15m in 1987), Predator 2 ($35m in 1990), Predators ($40m in 2010), Alien Vs. Predator ($60m in 2004) and Aliens Vs. Predator – Requiem ($40m in 2007). While inflation plays a role (Predator 2’s budget would be around $76m when adjusted for inflation), the prior films either arrived in a time when a lot more people went to the movies or had some kind of hook beyond “Hey, it’s a Predator movie!”
Culled from Forbes
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