The Predator is back on the hunt. Filming has now wrapped on Predator Skulls, which will be the first new entry in the franchise since 2018's poorly-received The Predator.
Shane Black's previous attempt to bring back the dread-locked alien did well at the box office, earning more than any other previous chapter, but was soundly lambasted by critics, garnering a subpar rating of 33% on Rottentomatoes.com. And, while it made more than any other instalment, it cost 88 million to produce and its 160 million worldwide box office tally did not warrant a continuation of Black's vision for the series.
Dishearteningly for fans, this was not the first time a filmmaker attempted to revive the franchise only to have it fizzle. The Robert Rodriquez-produced 2010 relaunch, Predators, fared better with critics, but also failed to make enough of a splash at the box office to have a sequel greenlit.
Why does this cult favorite blockbuster property continue to land with a thud? Why can't filmmakers replicate the formula that made the Arnold Schwarzenegger original an enduring classic?
Every time the franchise is revived, its directors seem to forget what makes the series special. The formula shouldn't be hard to replicate, yet each new entry underwhelms.
If Predator Skulls wants to finally make the Predator a viable cinematic universe these are the 10 biggest blunders it needs to avoid.
10. Don't Show Too Much Of The Predator... Right Away
The first Predator is a brilliant exercise in tension-building. At first, the movie plays like a run-of-the-mill 80s actioner about a rescue team on a covert mission. It's only gradually that the audience is made aware that something more sinister than guerilla warfare is afoot when members of the team are picked off one-by-one.
By the time the titular alien hunter makes an appearance, director John McTiernan has built him up as a horrifying spectre that can strike at any time.
It is only during the climax that we get to see the Predator in its full glory as it dukes it out with Arnold Schwarzenegger's Dutch Schaeffer. If Skulls wants to replicate some of the feel of the first movie and generate a certain amount of suspense, it needs to make the Predator an unseen force that strikes down its prey seemingly at will.
This was how the first instalment managed to make an elite military force that was armed to the teeth feel like the underdog in their battle for survival.
While special effects have improved significantly since the original was released, suspense rather than FX should be the order of the day.