Originally slated to release in February of this year, Shane Black's continuation of the Predator franchise was delayed until August and then moved to its current release date in September. Reportedly, these delays were made to allow for retooling, with some reports saying that the entire third act of the film needed to be scrapped and redone. Although we have known that The Predator had reshoots, what exactly the reshoots changed about the movie has been unclear until now. Writer and director Shane Black has revealed that the reshoots were really about making the Predator scarier, and part of that involved changing the setting of the climax, as he explained:
Part of it was that we were making the film and we were trying to jam a lot into a five-pound bag. So we had a big appetite, and one of the things about that was, well, if you want to do all of that stuff with this much money, you probably need to shoot during the day because during the night would be prohibitive. And then to our chagrin, and it's on me, when I saw the footage during the day, the climax of the movie [the Predator] doesn't look right. He doesn't look scary in the daytime. And then we decided to streamline the plot so we could afford to go back up and really concentrate on the scarier elements and doing it at night. So literally, as they've said, the difference is night and day. We took everything out of day and put it into darkness.
So it sounds like there were two elements in play that went hand in hand that weren't really working in The Predator, thus necessitating the reshoots. One of them seems to have been the plot. Shane Black mentions trying to jam too much in and having to streamline the plot. He doesn't elaborate on what exactly needed to be streamlined, but perhaps the plot was simply too intricate or overstuffed with ideas resulting in a messy film. The reshoots changed that and also allowed for them to correct the other issue: making the film scarier by shooting at night. As Shane Black said, the all-important climax of the film was set during the day for purely practical and budgetary reasons. Unfortunately, the Predator didn't have the same menacing effect during the day. That was obviously a huge problem for a character that is meant to be a horror villain and an unstoppable killing machine. So they reshot parts of the film at night in order to make the movie, and the Predator, scarier.
In his interview with Collider, Shane Black also mentioned how knowledge of what the Predator looks like is perhaps what diminished the effect of seeing the Predator during the daytime. He noted that you could see a fairly convincing Predator walking around Comic-Con and he's probably right. This isn't a new monster, and while seeing a Predator during the daytime would be terrifying in real life, the harsh lighting combined with the comfort of the theater and the character's permanence in pop culture has diluted his ability to be scary onscreen in that context. By enveloping him in darkness, you make him frightening again by emphasizing the other things that make him scary, like his movement and actions.
We won't know until we see the final product exactly how well these reshoots worked, and there are reports that more reshoots are still on the way. However, the reasoning for the reshoots and the desire to make the film and the Predator scarier is a good one. We want the Predator to be awesome, badass and scary, and hunting his prey under the shroud of night helps to achieve that.
The hunt kicks off when The Predator hits theaters on September 14. Take a look at our premiere guide for all of the biggest movies still to come this year, and for all the latest on why 'reshoot' isn't necessarily a dirty word, stay tuned to CinemaBlend.