35 years ago today, Predator was released to some shockingly negative reviews

The prequel, Prey, arrives this August.

We know what the title says, but excuse us while we talk a little while about The Witches of Eastwick.

Released in cinemas on 12 June, 1987, the weird horror-comedy hybrid was directed by George Miller (what a fabulously eclectic filmography that man has, from Babe to Mad Max: Fury Road), and stars Jack Nicholson as The Devil, who is attempting to seduce Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer and Cher, in the hopes they will birth him a son.

It had a budget of $22 million, and was a moderate hit, making $64 million in North America alone (the worldwide box office is not recorded, for some reason), and critics were also moderately friendly towards it, as the movie scored 67% on Metacritic.



So why are we talking about The Witches of Eastwick? Well, on the very same day that movie was released, another weird horror hybrid was also released in cinemas: Predator.

Yep, Arnie’s action-movie-that-is-actually-a-horror-movie was launched in cinemas as a sort of macho-counter-programming movie, hoping to draw the men in, as the women flocked to see Nicholson as a horny demon.

Shockingly, Predator had a much smaller budget than The Witches of Eastwick (reportedly as low as $15 million), and even more shockingly, had a smaller box office result in North America – just $59 million.

And as if all of that wasn’t shocking enough, critics did not care for it at all, landing with a score of just 45% on Metacritic.

In hindsight, some of the reviews are actually sort of hilarious:

The Los Angeles Times: “It’s arguably one of the emptiest, feeblest, most derivative scripts ever made as a major studio movie.”

The Washington Post: “Frankly, scarier critters have checked into bad hotels.”

San Francisco Chronicle: “The movie, a rather pointless thing when you get down to it, has little of the provocative intelligence that was found in Terminator.”

The New York Times: “Alternately grisly and dull, with few surprises.”

Of course, hindsight has reframed Predator as one of Arnie’s very best movies, and one of the greatest (and only) mash-ups of action and horror ever made.

For director John McTiernan, it arrived just one year ahead of Die Hard, making for a killer one-two punch (and the third punch arriving two years later, with The Hunt For Red October).

For Arnie, as of his filmography, Predator had a lower critical score than Conan The Destroyer, Commando, The Running Man, Twins, Kindergarten Cop, and just barely landed above Last Action Hero (another of his movies that has been re-evaluated with time).

That didn’t stop Hollywood from giving it a sequel (Predator 2), and then a sort-of-reboot (Predators), and then a sort-of-reboot/sequel (The Predator), and this August, a prequel (Prey).

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