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Last week, our first look at Shane Black's The Predator was something that sent shockwaves through the internet. Unfortunately for Black and 20th Century Fox, the wavelength of that message ranged from "eh" to "meh" on the anticipation meter, which is not very comforting when you take into account that this is the writer/director's return to the franchise he helped start as a writer on John McTiernan's 1988 original. So surely what's good for Arnie should be good for this new crop of warriors, right? Well, that's exactly what we think, and there's one way that Fox can right the ship ASAP: they can cut together and release a red-band trailer for The Predator to show off the new movie's more mature elements.
After watching the trailer for The Predator, there was one problem that glared out of the audience like the trademark tracer laser of the titular creature's armor: it doesn't look or feel like a Predator movie in this trailer. Starting with Jacob Tremblay playing with pieces of said armor that cause a Predator ship to crash land on Earth isn't exactly something that screams "time to take Old Painless out of the bag." Mix that with the beats of Olivia Munn's hybridization plotline, and you begin to feel like you're watching a trailer that's more at home in the Alien vs. Predator universe, and not the Predator films of the late 80's/early 90's. Not to mention, this trailer is too clean looking for a Predator film, giving the whole affair an antiseptic sort of air to it.
Now how does a red-band trailer fix that? As it turns out, it can do so rather simply. The Predator is part of a franchise where violence and hardcore action are the bread, butter and ammunition of what's going down at the end of the day. So taking out the hybridization aspect would not only give us more room for the violence and profanity-laden cream that this coffee needs, it also would save a nice surprise for the audience that hasn't watched that first trailer already. It's no secret that this new sequel is being made to look up to its destructive predecessors, so why hide all of the fun stuff? The best part about this is that it's not terribly hard based on the material in the first trailer.
Making those cuts leaves you with the perfect base for a more mature look into The Predator to work off of. Taking out the more sci-fi aspect of the film leaves room for more dreadful mystery, carnage filled action and earmuff-friendly wise cracks to provide a true R-rated look into Shane Black's latest action masterpiece. To be frank, that's what your main audience for this film is going to be looking for, and there's already a trailer that best shows what truly marketing a film with Black's unique talents should look like. Take a look at the red-band for The Nice Guys below and see what we're talking about.
There's a lot of stuff that The Nice Guys marketed right that The Predator didn't. It shows Shane Black's poetic usage of profanity and action violence that you wouldn't get away with showing in a standard green-band trailer, with the former shining especially in that trailer. You know that some of these scenes with Holbrook and company are going to have off-kilter dialogue that isn't exactly safe for work, and you especially know that if they brought Black back for a Predator sequel, he's going to tackle it with the same level of humor and peril he did with that first film. So why not show off some of the fresh, quotable dialogue that the man is going to sell to audiences come this September? Since this is an obvious teaser, it doesn't have to be a lot, but a more substantial taste would do wonders.
As for the violence, that kind of ties into a note we had about the current trailer. Now, after his performances in films like Room and Wonder, the fact that Jacob Tremblay is going to be the child lead in this film isn't scary. The young actor clearly knows how to handle himself in movies like this, so it's not like he's going to be the stock "so precocious he ruins the movie" lead. Again, this is a strength of Shane Black's, which is also shown in the Nice Guys red band trailer above. While his character is going to be an important part of this film's story, a more mature trailer could showcase the film's young child lead in some R-rated peril, without betraying his character. There's a hint of this with the moment between Tremblay and Olivia Munn when she protects her young co-star from a Predator's aim, and if there was maybe a little more of a leaning into that scene, it would have helped immensely.
Every film needs a gree- band trailer to sell to a wide audience, and The Predator is no exception. That doesn't mean that a red-band version couldn't have been cut first, then sanitized for a green-band replacement, leaving both versions able to be released at the same time. However, we really should let Shane Black speak for himself about why an R-rated trailer for The Predator is such an important thing, and he did just that indirectly in the following tweet:
Whoever gave notes on this should be given a copy of the original film and made to try again once they've seen what they're truly dealing with here. Fox, if you know your talent and your business, you should be hot on getting a Predator trailer with all of the blood and swears we know and love from this franchise. Deadpool 2 hits theaters this Thursday, and with the notes above, you could have some serious marketing muscle to promote The Predator's September 14th release date. Even if you can't make that date, the sooner you can push this puppy out, the better, because in terms of selling this franchise, this trailer is one ugly motherfucker.