The first installment remains an all-time classic of both the sci-fi and action genres, but no movie featuring the Predator has ever come close to matching the quality of the dreadlocked extra-terrestrial’s maiden big screen outing, despite there being a series of sequels, reboots and crossovers over the last 30+ years.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s testosterone-soaked squad of commandos set a benchmark that the franchise would never realistically be able to top, but that hasn’t stopped countless filmmakers from trying anyway. Predator 2 was a solid-if-unspectacular follow-up that traded the jungle for the city and had Danny Glover’s everyman cop replace Arnie’s shredded super-soldier, the Alien vs. Predator movies are better off forgotten, and Robert Rodriguez’s Predators remains an underrated gem of a genre flick.
Although many fans thought the franchise should have been quietly retired at that point, hopes were nonetheless raised when it was announced that Lethal Weapon creator, Iron Man 3 director and star and script doctor of the 1987 original Shane Black would be tackling The Predator, which promised to be a return to the title creature’s R-rated roots.
Unfortunately, heavy studio interference and a muddled and disjointed story that couldn’t settle on a consistent tone saw The Predator become the latest disappointing entry in the series, after it was greeted by an apathetic shrug by critics and limped to a meagre $160 million at the box office. In a recent interview, leading man Boyd Holbrook admitted that the franchise would have probably been better off left alone, with the law of diminishing returns almost inevitable after three decades.
“I just think the first one caught lightning in a bottle. And with people wanting to do more, maybe you should just let a sleeping dog lie, sometimes. That was a big takeaway for me.”
After The Predator bombed at the box office and Disney acquired the rights to the franchise following their takeover of Fox, it seems unlikely that the family-friendly studio will have much interest in a gory sci-fi series, but yet another reboot has already been reported to be in the works, so it seems that the creature will be returning to our screens once again at some point.