It’s been a long while since the zeitgeist got excited about Predator movie. Possibly since 1987 when the first Arnie-starring film came out. Predator 2 was a sequel from another era when sequels didn’t have to be bigger and better; not a bad film in itself but without Arnie and with a cheaper-to-shoot urban setting, for the wider non-genre fan audience there was the whiff of cash-in follow which stopped it being regarded as a true blockbuster.
Then, of course, the Alien V Predator films eroded the respect for both franchises; gimmick movies that relied on easily-impressed fan boys going “coooooo-elllllll” at Mortal Kombat-style kill moves. The first one was bearable at best. The second one was unwatchable.
2010’s Predators was a step in the right direction; a harder-edged, bloodier affair that did feel like a respectable tonal relative of the first film. But it was marketed as – and mainly appealed t0 – hardcore sci-fi horror audience. It was a nice present for the faithful, but it wasn’t HUGE! Neither was it made to be.
But that’s all about to change according to the director of the next Predator film, The Predator. Cynics might scoff, “Well he would say that wouldn’t he?” But that director is Shane Black, the man behind the proper blockbusters Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 3 so we’re inclined to believe me. Or believe that’s the intention, anyway.
“They called me and I was reluctant,” he tells Thrillist. “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.
“‘Oh, there’s another one that came out.’ they said. ‘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.’ ‘Shit, that sounds interesting.’”
You have to love the way Predators gets reduced to, “Oh, there’s another one that came out,” in that exchange, Kinda proves our point that although it was well-received it didn’t exactly imprint itself into the public’s psyche.
Black, whose next film, The Nice Guys starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, is released in June, will be turning his attention to The Predator next.
“I think the first one was great, and it was contained, and it was a perfect little gem for what it was. I think there’s an expansion that needs to take place, and also just a love for that era, that movie, and the mythology of the Predator. I think that they came to me knowing pretty much that… 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.’”