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'The Predator' tops box office but still falls short; 'A Simple Favor' beats expectations

'The Predator' tops box office but still falls short; 'A Simple Favor' beats expectations
A scene from "The Predator," the fourth film in the long-running action franchise. (Kimberley French / 20th Century Fox)

For the first time in weeks, the weekend box office was dominated by three new releases, signaling an unofficial start to the fall movie season.

In first place, 20th Century Fox's "The Predator" opened at No. 1 with $24 million, according to figures from measurement firm ComScore.

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The latest entry from the three-decade-old series came in below analysts’ predictions of $30 million to $35 million and the studio’s expectation of $25 million to $30 million. It now holds the record for lowest opening weekend for a live action movie opening on more than 4,000 screens.

The fourth film in the long-running franchise about technologically advanced aliens that kill humans for sport, "The Predator" was directed by Shane Black, who had a role in the original "Predator." It earned negative reviews from audiences and critics with a C+ rating on CinemaScore and a 34% "rotten" rating on movie review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.

The film became embroiled in controversy recently after actress Olivia Munn alerted Fox that an actor with a minor role was a registered sex offender. The studio removed a scene featuring the actor, who was a friend of Black's, after Munn came forward, though there was some division among the cast last week during the Toronto International Film Festival.

In second place, Warner Bros.' "The Nun" added $18.2 million in its second weekend (a 66% drop) for a cumulative $85 million.

At No. 3, Lionsgate's "A Simple Favor" debuted with $16 million, above analysts' expectations of $10 million to $15 million.

Directed by Paul Feig, the dark thriller stars Anna Kendrick as a mommy blogger who seeks answers in the disappearance of her best friend (Blake Lively). The film earned positive reviews with audiences and critics with a B+ rating on CinemaScore and a 82% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sony's "White Boy Rick" opened at No. 4 with $8.8 million.

Starring newcomer Richie Merritt and Matthew McConaughey as a young FBI informant and his father in drug-torn 1980s Detroit, the $27-million film came within range of analysts' expectations of $8 million to $10 million. It earned so-so ratings with a B score on CinemaScore and a 64% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Rounding out the top five, Warner Bros.' "Crazy Rich Asians," now in its fifth weekend, added $8.7 million for a cumulative $149.5 million.

Also new this week, Pure Flix's "Unbroken: Path to Redemption" premiered with $2.3 million, below analysts' predictions of $4 million.

A follow-up to the 2014 drama "Unbroken" (directed by Angelina Jolie) about Olympian and World War II veteran Louis Zamperini, the sequel, directed by Harold Cronk, tells the rest of the story. It earned mixed reviews from audiences and critics with an A rating on CinemaScore and a 25% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Also worth noting, Paramount’s “Mission: Impossible — Fallout,” now in its eighth week, currently boasts $216.1 million in cumulative ticket sales, making it the highest-grossing film domestically in the franchise.

In limited release, Roadside Attractions opened “Lizzie” in four theaters with $49,895, a per-screen average of $12,473. The psychological thriller starring Kristen Stewart and Chloe Sevigny earned a 73% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Next week, Briarcliff opens the Michael Moore documentary “Fahrenheit 11/9," Universal premieres the fantasy "The House With a Clock in Its Walls" and Amazon Studios debuts the drama "Life Itself." Neon unveils the thriller "Assassination Nation" and Magnolia drops the Gilda Radner documentary "Love, Gilda" in limited release.

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11:20 a.m.: This story has been updated with more box office figures and details.

This article was originally published at 9:35 a.m.

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