Maybe it can all be traced back to one single event: the mishandling of the film’s original sequel. The late eighties were good for John McTiernan. Having unleashed Predator onto audiences he doubled-down on the machismo theme with Die Hard a year later. However when the time came to follow up his alien movie with a sequel in 1990 his asking salary had doubled, pricing him out of Predator 2’s scant budget. To make matters worse, star Arnold Schwarzenegger dropped out too, due to either a salary dispute, clashing schedules or an unsatisfactory script. The exact reasons are still up for debate but one thing remains concrete: audiences were denied the continuation of Dutch’s story.
Had the pair signed on for another round, their combined presence may have given the Predator franchise a lease of life worthy of challenging Sigourney Weaver’s still-developing Alien anthology. Salvage attempts were reignited throughout the 90s with ideas for a proposed third movie entitled Predator 3: Deadlier of the Species reintroducing us to Dutch in a blizzard-ravaged New York City for another space-invader scuffle. Then there was The Zoo, an amalgamation threequel that bundled Dutch with Danny Glover’s Predator 2 hero Harrigan and shipped them both off for a stint in the wilds of the Predator's home planet. Both intriguing concepts that unfortunately never saw the light of day.
Instead, the Predator found itself relegated to bargain-bin adventures. There was ‘meh’ crossover cash-in Alien Vs Predator in 2004 and its equally tedious 2007 sequel AVP: Requiem. Then Robert Rodriguez took a stab in 2010’s Predators, a stand-alone sequel that felt more like a Friday night popcorn movie than a worthy continuation. While new directors certainly don’t spell doom for a franchise, stripping Predator of both its original helmer and star so early on seems to have inflicted wounds that are difficult to heal. Perhaps the key to Alien’s continued success is down to the lynchpin figure of Ripley, tying things together either in person or in spirit. With the Predator currently lacking a concrete foe to face, it could be some time before it emerges from the wilderness and into a worthy battle arena.
Where do you think the Predator franchise went wrong? Let me know in the comments section below!