Widescreen: 'Prey' is one of the summer's greatest entertainment success stories

"Prey," the exciting, surprisingly beautiful prequel to the 1987 monster mash "Predator," debuted on Hulu last weekend to the biggest audience in the streaming platform's history.

To get just a little more specific, it racked up more streaming hours in its first three days than any previous Hulu program, assuming we can take Hulu's word for it.

That's a victory for 20th Century Studios, formerly 20th Century Fox, which has been treated as an afterthought since being acquired by The Big Mouse. It's also a victory for director Dan Trachtenberg, delivering his first feature since 2016's well-received thriller "10 Cloverfield Lane," and for people whose stories don't often get told in highly visible franchise movies.

Set in 1719 North America, "Prey" was filmed on Stoney Nakoda Nation land in Alberta, Canada; its main characters are members of the Comanche tribe; and its star is Amber Midthunder, a 25-year-old woman of Native American descent playing Naru, an unproven hunter who levels up when she takes on the alien beastie that previously battled Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Mostly, it's a victory for viewers, who get to watch this tight, satisfying thriller right now at home, with a free Hulu trial if need be. Perhaps Disney can find a hole in the IMAX schedule somewhere in September or October? I'd gladly pay $15 to see those mountain vistas on the giant screen.

Sarah Schachner's distinct music can be heard in "Prey," "Assassin's Creed Valhalla" and "Anthem." Courtesy of Alex Exline,

The next big name in movie music?

We here at Widescreen (well, OK, the royal "we") love film, TV and video game composers, and "Prey" introduces a new audience to Sarah Schachner, whose distinct work seems to stretch across time. Her theme for Naru, for instance, begins with a stringed instrument that sounds like it was discovered on some archaeological dig. Her Predator theme, with a brutal, perhaps anachronistic cello motif, strikes like cold, otherworldly lightning.

If you've heard Schachner's work before, chances are it's because you're a gamer - she is credited on multiple iterations of the "Call of Duty" and "Assassin's Creed" franchises. Her work on "Assassin's Creed Valhalla" alongside fellow franchise veteran Jesper Kyd and Norwegian metal musician Einar Selvik constitutes a landmark achievement in video game music, more than two hours of intricate, intense Norse melodies produced during a pandemic for what turned out to be a billion-dollar grosser for Ubisoft.

Schachner, who grew up in Pennsylvania, was a perfect hire for a game with axes and long ships: On an episode of Ubisoft's "Game Makers" podcast, the composer says she and her sister were "super-obsessed with Vikings" as children, to the point of asking their parents to buy them a Viking ship instead of a swing set. Those are some nerdy kids after my own Norwegian heart.

You can hear Schachner's score for "Prey" wherever you stream music.

• Sean Stangland is an assistant news editor whose Spotify playlist of soundtrack cues just passed the 100-hour mark.

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