It’s been nearly thirty years since Arnold Schwarzenegger first went toe-to-toe with the Predator, and since that date we’ve seen numerous Predator-related products, including sequels, crossovers, comic books, video games, action figures… and the list goes on. There’s no doubt that the titular alien has become somewhat of an iconic figure in modern culture, and a massive fan-favorite, which explains some viewers’ reluctance to see anyone continue the movie aspect of the franchise.
Predator 2 has become a cult hit since its debut in 1990, but it received mixed reviews on release, and Predators stalled the franchise back in 2010, despite being a solid, non-canonical entry. Between those two movies, even a double-edged crossover with Fox’s other iconic alien franchise, Aliens, couldn’t put a smile on the faces of the die-hard fan base. When Fox announced their intention to revive the franchise (again), fans were a little dubious, and many still have their doubts, even with Shane Black (Iron Man 3) in the writer/director’s chair.
Well, the fans need not worry: even Shane Black was a little reluctant to accept the job — at first.
There’s no secret that the Iron Man 3 director has a special connection with the Predator franchise; he earned an uncredited writing role as well as a major speaking part in the 1987 original, directed by John McTiernan. He holds the unique distinction of being the Predator’s first ever on-screen victim, and the franchise has held a special place in his heart since, which explains his initial reluctance to get involved.
Speaking to Thrillist, Shane Black spoke about his feelings on the project and revealed that Fox had to convince him that the sequel was a good idea.
“They called me and I was reluctant. I said, ‘Look. You guys at Fox, I mean, I enjoy these movies, but we’ve been churning out these AVP whatever, they each cost a certain amount of money, they’re okay, but there’s no effort to elevate them or make them any kind of an event.’ They’re just sort of another Predator.”
He would then reveal that Fox proposed a tantalizing counter-offer.
“‘What if we said to you we want to reinvent this, and really treat it with as much of an event status, or as much hoopla as we would the Alien prequel, which is coming out also? We really want to make this something. The kind of movie that people line up for.’ I said, ‘Really, you’ll spend a bunch of money?’ They go, ‘Yep.’ I go, ‘Make it really scale, spectacle?’ ‘Yep.’ ‘S—, that sounds interesting.'”
So it seems Fox is taking Predator seriously once again. Turning the movie into a blockbuster event would certainly be one way to revive the franchise, something that hasn’t been done before. If you consider that the first three Predator movies had a combined budget of $90 million dollars — less than half the coffers of Iron Man 3 on its own — it shows how adapting a modern Predator movie with more money has the potential to be something spectacular. Of course, money doesn’t always mean success, but Black has a stellar track record behind him; said Iron Man movie took over a billion at the box-office, which might explain Black’s excitement at being given some financial freedom.
“I think there’s an expansion that needs to take place. They said, basically, if I wanted to make Predator but treat it like it was Iron Man III instead of just another little movie. I said, ‘Let’s really do it right this time’.”
With Aliens 5 in the works, as revealed by Cinema Blend, but on hiatus due to Alien: Covenant (the sequel to Prometheus), it seems that Fox is suddenly taking its alien franchises very seriously. With Covenant confirmed as a hard R movie, could The Predator follow suit? In a Hollywood landscape where an R-rating currently equals money, you can expect this to be at the forefront of their agenda.
With the film firmly in development, and various rumors of Arnie’s return circulating on the internet, it seems The Predator could break out of the small genre movie mould and become a serious contender at the box-office. Predator fans will hope that — after nearly thirty years — they might finally get the Predator sequel they’ve always wanted.
Directed and written by Shane Black, The Predator opens on March 2, 2018.
[Image via 20th Century Fox]