Why is the new Predator film only available on Hulu?

Why is the new Predator film only available on Hulu? ...

The Predator film franchise may never have reached the heights of the original 1987 film, a suspenseful action classic directed by John McTiernan and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, but its three sequels to date have been reliably enjoyable theatrical experiences and reliably profitable at the box office (the latter applies to the trashier Alien vs. Predator spinoffs as well.)

So it's a surprise to see Prey, the latest installment of the series, available for streaming on Hulu. Although it's a stripped-down premise, it's clear that it would work well in theaters if it had the chance (in fact, that's how some critics saw it).

Prey is swimming against the tide by debuting on streaming only. While some studios sought to push films to streaming to increase their subscriber numbers during the epidemic, the box office has well and truly recovered this year, led by the extraordinary success of Top Gun: Maverick. Studios are now betting on theatrical runs for well-known franchises like the Predator series, even to the extent that Warner Bros. has completely canceled its HBO Max Batgirl film.

What does Prey have in common with other animals? The answer, as so often with questions like this, comes down to mundane business information and maybe a bit of sour grapes.

Predator is owned by, and Prey was created by, 20th Century Studios (formerly 20th Century Fox). In 2019, Disney acquired a majority interest in Hulu, where it likes to place its younger-oriented programming that does not fall under the Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, or Marvel brands. (In the United States, anyway; internationally, it all just goes on Disney Plus.)

20th Century Fox had a contract with HBO Max to stream all of its theatrical releases prior to the Disney acquisition, according to Variety's Adam B. Vary. This is why recent 20th Century films like Free Guy, Nightmare Alley, West Side Story, and Death on the Nile have been available on HBO Max instead of, or as well as, Hulu or Disney Plus.

It's the grandfathered 20th Century Fox/HBO contract, the same reason Free Guy went to HBO Max instead of D+. All 20th titles that originated pre-merger w/theatrical release must go to HBO Max. If PREY got a theatrical release, the same would happen.

Prey appears on HBO Max as the first big-ticket franchise of 20th Century to drive subscriptions to Disney.

Hulu hasn't really had a presence Trachtenberg said. They're hoping to enliven the platform to demonstrate that they're not just offering lesser-budget offerings, but that this is also a platform to have huge cinematic experiences. Prey is certainly a flashier proposition than previous Hulu offerings, like Nomadland or Palm Springs.

If all things were equal, Disney might have chosen to give Prey a theatrical run. However, this is not the case; Disney would rather deny audiences this theatrical experience and encourage them to buy a subscription to Hulu.