Predator (franchise)

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Predator
Predator (franchise) logo.png
The current logo of the franchise.
Created byJim Thomas
John Thomas
Original workPredator (1987)
Owner20th Century Fox
(The Walt Disney Company)
Print publications
Book(s)List of books
Novel(s)List of novels
ComicsList of comics
Magazine(s)Empire Classics - Alien: The Complete History of All 8 Films (2018)
Films and television
Film(s)Original series

Crossover series

Games
TraditionalList of board games
Role-playingPredator: Concrete Jungle (2005)
Video game(s)List of video games

Predator was a science-fiction action media franchise centered on the film series depicting mankind's encounters with a race of extraterrestrial hunter known as "the Predator". Produced and distributed by 20th Century Fox, the series began with Predator (1987), directed by John McTiernan, and was followed by three sequels, Predator 2 (1990), Predators (2010), and The Predator (2018), directed by Stephen Hopkins, Nimród Antal, and Shane Black, respectively. The series has led to numerous novels, comics, and video game spin-offs such as Predator: Concrete Jungle released in 2005 to generally mixed reviews. The Alien vs. Predator franchise combines the continuities of the Alien franchise with the Predator franchise and consists of two films as well as varying series of comics, books, and video games.

Background[edit]

Predator was John McTiernan's first studio film as director. The studio hired screenplay writer Shane Black to not only play a supporting role in the film, but to keep an eye on McTiernan due to the director's inexperience.[1] Jean-Claude Van Damme was originally cast as the film's creature,[2] the idea being that the physical action star would use his martial arts skills to make the creature an agile, ninja-esque hunter. When compared to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, and Jesse Ventura, actors known for their bodybuilding regimes, it became apparent a more physically imposing man was needed to make the creature appear threatening. Eventually, Van Damme was removed from the film and replaced by the actor and mime artist Kevin Peter Hall.[3][4][5][6] A Van Damme easter egg was eventually featured in The Predator.[7][8][9]

The Predator creature's design is credited to special effects artist Stan Winston. While flying to Japan with Aliens director James Cameron, Winston, who had been hired to design the Predator, was doing concept art on the flight. Cameron saw what he was drawing and said, "I always wanted to see something with mandibles", and Winston subsequently included them in his designs.[10] Schwarzenegger recommended Winston after his experience working on The Terminator.[11][12][13]

The film's creature was originally designed with a long neck, a dog-like head and a single eye. This design was abandoned when it became apparent that the jungle locations would make shooting the complex design too difficult. Originally, the studio contracted the makeup effects for the alien from Richard Edlund's Boss Film Creature Shop. However, with problems filming the creature in Mexico and attempts to create a convincing monster of Van Damme, wearing a much different body suit, failing, makeup effects responsibilities were given to Winston and his studio, R/Greenberg Associates. According to former Boss Film Creature Shop makeup supervisor Steve Johnson, the makeup failed because of an impractical design by McTiernan that included 12-inch-length (300 mm) extensions that gave the creature a backward bent satyr-leg. The design did not work in the jungle locations. After six weeks of shooting in the jungles of Palenque, Mexico, the production had to shut down so that Winston could make the new creature. This took eight months and then filming resumed for five weeks.[14]

The sound of the creature was provided by Peter Cullen. Despite his resolution not to voice any more monsters following injuries to his throat sustained during the ADR of King Kong, his agent convinced him to audition. The bubbling sound was inspired by a mixture of the visual of the creature and his recollection of a dying horseshoe crab.[15]

R/Greenberg Associates created the film's optical effects, including the creature's ability to become invisible, its thermal vision point-of-view, its glowing blood, and the electric spark effects. The invisibility effect was achieved by having someone in a bright red suit (because it was the farthest opposite of the green of the jungle and the blue of the sky) the size of the creature. The take was then repeated without the actors using a 30% wider lens on the camera. When the two takes were combined optically, a vague outline of the alien could be seen with the background scenery bending around its shape. For the thermal vision, infrared film could not be used because it did not register in the range of body temperature wavelengths. The glowing blood was achieved by green liquid from chem-lite sticks used by campers. The electrical sparks were rotoscoped animation using white paper pin registered on portable light tables to black-and-white prints of the film frames. The drawings were composited by the optical crew for the finished effects.[16][17][18][19][20]

Also, in an interview on Predator Special Edition, actor Carl Weathers said many of the actors would secretly wake up as early as 3 a.m. to work out before the day's shooting, in order to look "pumped" during the scene. Weathers also stated that he would act as if his physique was naturally given to him, and would work out only after all the other actors were nowhere to be seen. It was reported that actor Sonny Landham was so unstable on the set that a bodyguard was hired; not to protect Landham, but to protect the other cast members from him.[21]

According to Schwarzenegger, filming was physically demanding as he had to swim in very cold water and spent three weeks covered in mud for the climactic battle with the alien. In addition, cast and crew endured very cold temperatures in the Mexican jungle that required heat lamps to be on all of the time. Schwarzenegger also faced the challenge of working with Kevin Peter Hall who could not see in the creature's suit. Hall could not see out of the mask and had to rehearse his scenes with it off and then memorize where everything was.

The film was particularly successful and subsequently inspired a number of comic books, video games and popular anecdotes within the media. Schwarzenegger was asked to reprise his role in a Predator sequel, but was already attached to Terminator 2: Judgment Day and could not accept the role. The character was rewritten from the developing sequel's script, and the sequel to Predator, directed by Stephen Hopkins, was scheduled for 1990.[22]

Due to excessive violence, Predator 2 was the first film to be given the newly instituted NC-17 rating in the United States. It was eventually rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America after being re-cut to its final theatrical length.[23][24] The film cast Danny Glover in the lead role, and reprised Kevin Peter Hall as the Predator. Also, returning to the role of Anna in the sequel, Elpidia Carrillo was slated to be in two scenes but was cut back to a brief appearance on a video screen in the government agents' surveillance trailer. Her character is showing damage to the Central American jungle caused by the explosion at the conclusion of the first film.[25]

Films[edit]

Film U.S. release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Story by Producer(s)
Predator June 12, 1987 (1987-06-12) John McTiernan Jim Thomas & John Thomas Lawrence Gordon, Joel Silver and John Davis
Predator 2 November 21, 1990 (1990-11-21) Stephen Hopkins
Predators July 9, 2010 (2010-07-09) Nimród Antal Alex Litvak & Michael Finch John Davis, Robert Rodriguez and Elizabeth Avellán
The Predator September 14, 2018 (2018-09-14) Shane Black Fred Dekker & Shane Black John Davis

Predator (1987)[edit]

An elite paramilitary rescue team, led by Major "Dutch" is on a covert operation in Central America when they encounter an alien who hunts them for sport.

Predator 2 (1990)[edit]

In 1997, a different Predator arrives in Los Angeles and begins hunting violent gang members, drawing the attention of the local police force. The creature itself is in turn being hunted by a secretive government task-force seeking to capture it for study.

Predators (2010)[edit]

In 2009, it was announced that Robert Rodriguez would relaunch the franchise.[26] Rodriguez had written a script titled Predators before he had filmed Desperado. In 2009, 20th Century Fox studio executive Alex Young called Rodriguez to consider using his treatment as the basis of reviving the individual Predator franchise.[27] Writer Alex Litvak was hired to write the screenplay.[28] Nimród Antal was signed on to direct the film. The film follows an ensemble cast of characters including Royce (Adrien Brody), a mercenary who appears along with murderers and otherwise undesirable people in a Predator game preserve jungle planet .[29] The film stars Adrien Brody,[30] Alice Braga, Danny Trejo, Walton Goggins, Oleg Taktarov, Topher Grace,[31] Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, Louis Ozawa Changchien[32] and Laurence Fishburne.

The Predator (2018)[edit]

Following the release of Predators, Rodriguez had been courted by the film studio to direct a sequel to the film from as script he had written in 1995. The filmmaker had been hired to write a script years ago, but it was shelved due to the production budget the project would require. Following the release of Predators in 2010, 20th Century Fox had intended to revitalize the script and adapt the story into a direct-followup film.[33][34][35] Time passed, and the project was delayed.[36]

By June 2014, the studio announced that Shane Black would direct a sequel to the film series and co-write with Fred Dekker, and John Davis would produce.[37] Davis has said of the film that he thought it was fresh and reimagined the franchise in a "different, interesting way".[38] In February 2016, Black confirmed the title of the new sequel would be The Predator.[39] It was slated for a March 2, 2018, release date.[40] Schwarzenegger revealed to TheArnoldFans.com in an interview that he was discussing returning to the film as his character.[41] Shane Black referred to the project as an event film that aims to elevate the Predator series: "It’s an attempt to ‘event-ise’ the Predator again... [An attempt to] make it more mysterious."[42][43] Black also said that the film would mark a return to the "intimate" scale of the original film and that the film-makers hoped to achieve “the same sense of wonderment and newness that Close Encounters had when that came out.”[43]

Shane Black confirmed that the film would be set in the present day and the eponymous character would have upgraded armor.[44][45][46] Black also indicated that the film would not be a complete reboot as it would acknowledge the events of Predator and Predator 2.[47] Filming was expected to commence in Vancouver in September 2016,[48] with a projected release date of February 9, 2018.[43][49][50][51] In September 2016, Benicio del Toro signed on to star in the film.[52] The following month, Boyd Holbrook was in negotiations to replace del Toro, who departed due to scheduling issues.[53] Filming was delayed to February 20, 2017.[54] On November 3, 2016, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Olivia Munn was in talks to play a role.[55] On November 21, 2016, Larry Fong was announced as the cinematographer for the film.[56] In January 2017, Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key and Jacob Tremblay joined the cast while Sterling K. Brown and Thomas Jane were in talks.[57][58][59][60][61] Black announced on his Twitter account that filming began on February 20, 2017[62] and wrapped up on June 2. Additional re-shoots in Vancouver started on March 12.[63]

Future[edit]

The producer, John Davis, says that The Predator will set up two sequels that he hopes Shane Black will return to direct. Concerning this, Black stated that "I would love to say we've been planning a trilogy, but I take one day at a time, in motion-picture terms that's one movie at a time."[64] With the sale of 21st Century Fox's assets, including 20th Century Fox studios, to The Walt Disney Company the future of the series has been called into question, however Bob Iger has confirmed that certain properties will remain R-rated.[65]

Cancelled projects[edit]

In 1994, Robert Rodriguez wrote an early script of the third Predator film for 20th Century Fox while he was working on Desperado.[33] Rodriguez presented the script to the studio, but was denied when they realized that the budget would be too large.[34] Fifteen years later, the studio decided to go with his script.[66] Nimród Antal had talked about a direct sequel to Predators and said he would love to do one. Rodriguez has said that he has interest in a sequel because of the large number of potential ideas the Predator planet setting provides.[67] In 2010, Rodriguez confirmed that there would eventually be a Predators sequel.[68] Adrien Brody expressed interest in reprising his role.[69]

Crossover series[edit]

Film U.S. release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Story by Producer(s)
Alien vs. Predator August 13, 2004 (2004-08-13) Paul W. S. Anderson Paul W. S. Anderson, Dan O'Bannon & Ronald Shusett John Davis, Gordon Carroll, David Giler and Walter Hill
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem December 25, 2007 (2007-12-25) Greg and Colin Strause Shane Salerno John Davis, David Giler and Walter Hill

Inspired by the Dark Horse Comics series, the filmmakers of Predator 2 (1990) incorporated an easter egg in which an Alien skull was seen in a Predator trophy case. Expansions upon this shared universe between the Alien and Predator franchises followed, through comics and video games, until a film franchise was launched with the release of Alien vs. Predator in 2004, followed by the sequel Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem in 2007, which spawned various new comics, novels, video games, and other merchandise based upon or inspired by the films.

Alien vs. Predator (2004)[edit]

In 2004, a Predator mothership arrives in Earth orbit to draw humans to an ancient Predator training ground on Bouvetøya, an island about one thousand miles north of Antarctica. A buried pyramid giving off a "heat bloom" attracts a group of explorers led by billionaire and self-taught engineer Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen), the original founder and CEO of Weyland Industries, who unknowingly activates an Alien egg production line as a hibernating Alien Queen is awakened within the pyramid. Three Predators descend unto the planet and enters the structure, killing all humans in their way with the intention of hunting the newly formed Aliens, while the scattered explorers are captured alive by Aliens and implanted with embryos. Two Predators die in the ensuing battle with an Alien. The third Predator allies itself with the lone surviving human, Alexa "Lex" Woods (Sanaa Lathan), while in their way out of the pyramid as it is destroyed by the Predator's wrist bomb and eventually battles with the escaped Alien Queen on the surface. The Queen is defeated by being dragged down by a water tower into the dark depths of the frozen sea, but not before she fatally wounds the last Predator. The orbiting Predator mothership uncloaks and the crew retrieves the fallen Predator. A Predator elder gives Lex a spear as a sign of respect, and then departs. Once in orbit it is revealed that an Alien Chestburster was present within the corpse, thus a Predalien hybrid is born.

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)[edit]

Set immediately after the events of the previous film, the Predalien hybrid aboard the Predator scout ship, having just separated from the mothership shown in the previous film, has grown to full adult size and sets about killing the Predators aboard the ship, causing it to crash in the small town of Gunnison, Colorado. The last surviving Predator activates a distress beacon containing a video recording of the Predalien, which is received by a veteran Predator on the Predator homeworld, who sets off towards Earth to "clean up" the infestation. When it arrives, the Predator tracks the Aliens into a section of the sewer below the town. He removes evidence of their presence as he moves along using a corrosive blue liquid and uses a laser net to try to contain the creatures, but the Aliens still manage to escape into the town above. The Predator fashions a plasma pistol from its remaining plasma caster and hunts Aliens all across town, accidentally cutting the power to the town in the process. During a confrontation with human survivors, the Predator loses its plasma pistol. The Predator then fights the Predalien singlehandedly, and the two mortally wound one another just as the US air force drops a tactical nuclear bomb on the town, incinerating both combatants along with the Predalien's warriors and hive, as well as the few remaining humans in the town. The salvaged plasma pistol is then taken to a Ms. Yutani of the Yutani Corporation, foreshadowing an advancement in technology leading to the future events of the Alien films.

Canceled Plans[edit]

A third film has been variously rumored since the production of Requiem.[70][71][72] In mid-2018, Shane Black, the director of The Predator, expressed his belief that a third Alien vs. Predator could still happen, indicating the studio's interest in both franchises.[73]

Cast and characters[edit]

Characters Films
Predator Predator 2 Predators The Predator
1987 1990 2010 2018
Predators Kevin Peter Hall Derek Mears
(Classic Predator)
Brian A. Prince
(Fugitive Predator)
Peter Cullen
(voice)
Hal Rayle
(voice)
Brian Steele
(Falconer)
Brian A. Prince
Kyle Strauts
(Ultimate Predator)
Carey L. Jones
(Tracker)
Brian Steele
(Berserker)
Alan "Dutch" Schaefer Arnold Schwarzenegger Deleted scene
George Dillon Carl Weathers
Anna Gonsalves Elpidia Carrillo
Jorge "Poncho" Ramirez Richard Chaves
Mac Eliot Bill Duke
Blain Cooper Jesse Ventura
Billy Sole Sonny Landham
Rick Hawkins Shane Black
Homer L. Phillips R. G. Armstrong
Michael "Mike" R. Harrigan Danny Glover
Peter J. Keyes Gary Busey
Danny "Danny Boy" Archuleta Rubén Blades
Leona Cantrell María Conchita Alonso
Garber Adam Baldwin
Jerry Lambert Bill Paxton
King Willie Calvin Lockhart
Anthony "Tony" Pope Morton Downey Jr.
Phil Heinemann Robert Davi
Captain B. Pilgrim Kent McCord
Royce Adrien Brody
Isabelle Alice Braga
Edwin Topher Grace
Walter Stans Walton Goggins
Nikolai Mikhalovich Fedorov Oleg Taktarov
Hanzo Louis Ozawa Changchien
Mombasa Mahershala Ali
Cuchillo Danny Trejo
Ronald Noland Laurence Fishburne
Quinn McKenna Boyd Holbrook
Casey Bracket Olivia Munn
Gaylord "Nebraska" Williams Trevante Rhodes
Rory McKenna Jacob Tremblay
William "Will" Traeger Sterling K. Brown
Coyle Keegan-Michael Key
Lynch Alfie Allen
Nettles Augusto Aguilera
Baxley Thomas Jane
Emma McKenna Yvonne Strahovski
Sean Keyes Jake Busey
Cullen Yutani Françoise Yip
Ellen Ripley Breanna Watkins
Alternate ending[74]
Rebecca "Newt" Jorden

Additional crew & production details[edit]

Crew/Detail Film
Predator Predator 2 Predators The Predator
1987 1990 2010 2018
Composer(s) Alan Silvestri John Debney Henry Jackman
Cinematography Donald McAlpine Peter Levy Gyula Pados Larry Fong
Editor(s) Mark Helfrich
John F. Link
Mark Goldblatt
Bert Lovitt
Dan Zimmerman Harry B. Miller III
Billy Weber
Production companies Davis Entertainment
Lawrence Gordon Productions
Silver Pictures
Dune Entertainment
Troublemaker Studios
Ingenious Media
20th Century Fox
Silver Pictures
Lawrence Gordon Productions
Davis Entertainment
Distributing company 20th Century Fox
Running time 107 minutes 108 minutes 107 minutes 107 minutes[75]

Reception[edit]

Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Grosses Rank
(all time domestic)
Budget References
United States Non-US Worldwide
Predator June 12, 1987 $59,735,548 $38,532,010 $98,267,558 #1,350 $15 million [76]
Predator 2 November 21, 1990 $30,669,413 $26,450,905 $57,120,318 #2,605 $35 million [77][78][79]
Predators July 9, 2010 $52,000,688 $75,232,420 $127,233,108 #1,584 $40 million [80]
The Predator September 14, 2018 $51,024,708 $109,517,426 $160,542,134 #3,051 $88 million [81]
Total $166,405,649 $170,942,570 $337,348,219 N/A $178 million N/A
List indicator(s)
  • (E) indicates figures based on available information.

Please note that the figures in this table are not inflation adjusted

Critical response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
Predator 80% (46 reviews)[82] 45 (15 reviews)[83] B+[84]
Predator 2 27% (26 reviews)[85] 46 (18 reviews)[86] B+[84]
Predators 65% (196 reviews)[87] 51 (30 reviews)[88] C+[84]
The Predator 32% (264 reviews)[89] 49 (47 reviews)[90] C+[84]
Average 52% 47 B–

Home video releases[edit]

Title Format Release date Films References
Predator: Special Edition Collection DVD April 18, 2005 Predator, Predator 2 [91]
Predator: The Ultimate DVD Collection DVD November 17, 2006 Predator, Predator 2, Alien vs. Predator [92]
Predator Collection DVD/Blu-ray formats October 19, 2010 Predator, Predator 2 [93]
Predator Trilogy - Mask Edition Blu-ray December 29, 2010 Predator, Predator 2, Predators [94]
Predator Trilogy DVD March 4, 2011 Predator, Predator 2, Predators [95]
Predator Triple Feature Blu Ray

4K UHD Blu-Ray

October 7, 2014 Predator, Predator 2, Predators [96]
Predator: 3-Movie Collection August 7, 2018 Predator, Predator 2, Predators [97]
Predator: 4-Movie Collection December 18, 2018 Predator, Predator 2, Predators, The Predator [98]

Other media[edit]

There have been a number of spin-offs in other media including a large number of crossovers within the Aliens/Predator fictional universe.

Novels[edit]

Movie novelizations[edit]

  • Predator by Paul Monette, Jove Books, June 1, 1987, ISBN 0-515-09002-6
  • Predator 2 by Simon Hawke, Jove Books, December 1990, ISBN 0-515-10578-3
  • The Predator: Hunters and Hunted by James A. Moore, Titan Books, July, 31, 2018 ISBN 978-1785658051
  • The Predator by Christopher Golden & Mark Morris, Titan Books, September 2018, ISBN 978-1785658051

Original novels[edit]

Comics[edit]

Dark Horse Comics published a line based on the franchise.

Books[edit]

Other books expanding this fictional universe has been released through the years, and also such that depict the background to the films, including works by special effects company Amalgamated Dynamics Incorporated (ADI) which has worked with both the Alien, Predator, and Alien vs. Predator films.

  • Aliens/Predator: Panel to Panel (2006)
  • Predator The Official Movie Special (2018)
  • The Predator: The Art and Making of the Film (2018)

Video games[edit]

The Predator also was a downloadable character in Mortal Kombat X (2015).[99]

Board games[edit]

  • Aliens/Predator (1997)[100]
  • Legendary Encounters: A Predator Deck Building Game (2015)[101][102]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://cinephiliabeyond.org/predator-john-mctiernans-first-studio-gig-became-epic-action-classic/
  2. ^ "Teletext Big Screen Vortex". Teletext.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
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  4. ^ https://geektyrant.com/news/jean-claude-van-damme-was-fired-from-predator-because-he-wouldnt-stop-kickboxing
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  12. ^ https://screenrant.com/the-predator-movies-behind-scenes-hidden-trivia/
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  29. ^ Nimrod Antal Chases Down "Predators", Hollywood Reporter, July 2, 2009
  30. ^ "Update #2: Major 'Predators' Casting Announcement Made!".
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  56. ^ Kit, Borys (November 21, 2016). "Larry Fong to Shoot Shane Black's 'The Predator'". /Film.
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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]