Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Real Reason Arnold Schwarzenegger Wasn't In Predator 2

The 1987 film Predator spawned its own franchise, a spin-off series where the extraterrestrial hunter battles the 1980s' other great alien, and one of the best memes of all time. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Predator tells the story of an elite group of paramilitary fighters stalked by an alien whose one joy in life is hunting other species for sport. Initially sent to save hostages in a Central American rainforest from guerilla fighters, the soldiers (and one lone guerilla fighter) become prey for the titular Predator. The film also stars Carl Weathers and Jesse Ventura, making it one of the few movies featuring multiple governors-to-be.

Schwarzenegger's character, Major Alan "Dutch" Schafer, is one of few to make it out of the jungle alive. Yet he didn't return for any of the film's sequels and spin-offs, or for Shane Black's 2018 reboot.

Predator grossed almost $60 million domestically in its first run, prompting 20th Century Fox to quickly order a sequel. Predator 2 was released in 1990, starring Danny Glover as LAPD officer Mike Harrigan. Similar to the first film, Predator 2 follows a Predator who goes on safari amid some humans' internecine squabbles. This time, the Predator interrupts a drug war in Los Angeles. Producers sought to bring back Schwarzenegger, but (per CBR) he opted to make Twins with Danny DeVito instead. 

After Predator 2, the series morphed into the AvP franchise, pitting Predators against the xenomorphs of the Alien series. After that, the franchise was rebooted in 2010 with the Robert Rodriguez-produced Predators.

A producer says Arnold Schwarzenegger wanted too much money

In an interview with Collider, producer John Davis said Arnold Schwarzenegger was in talks to reprise his role as Dutch in Predator 2. Unfortunately, negotiations broke down over how much Ah-nold was to be paid. "We should've had Arnold in the movie," Davis told Collider. "The deal broke down over $250,000, which is a shame."

Considering how much Predator made, and how much less Predator 2 made, maybe Fox should have forked over the money. According to Davis, Predator is still making him ungodly amounts of money. "I get a big check every year on my net points off of the original Predator," he said. "It was hugely profitable. It far exceeded its revenue on DVD than in theaters by three or four times." 

Predator 2, on the other hand, grossed half of what the first film made domestically. Some of that may have been due to the inevitable waning interest that would affect any property during the three years it took between releasing Predator and Predator 2. But some of the loss of box office inertia may have been the result of not casting Schwarzenegger. Both of the Governator's 1990 films, Total Recall and Kindergarten Cop, made more than $200 million total each. After saying no to Predator 2, Schwarzenegger went on to great box office success with films like T2: Judgement DayTrue Lies, Jingle All the Way, and Junior (again with Danny DeVito). 

Arnold Schwarzenegger says sequels are usually disappointing

Arnold Schwarzenegger's stated reasons for not returning are more artistic and less financial. "The sad story is that sometimes studios do a great job with creating sequels, and sometimes they really screw it up bad, and it all has to do with greed," Schwarzenegger said in a 2015 Q&A hosted by Reddit and covered by The Hollywood Reporter. "So far, no Predator, no matter which one they did after the first one has come out, has been satisfactory to the audience."

Predator director John McTiernan also did not return for Predator 2. He moved on to directing Die Hard and The Hunt for Red October. Instead, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child's Stephen Hopkins was tagged to helm the film. In the Reddit Q&A, Schwarzenegger mentioned poor director choice as one of the factors that makes sequels unsatisfying: "They sometimes want to do it really cheap and make as much money as possible, so they don't hire the right cast or the right director. ... It's stupid moves to make."

In the 2011 Collider interview, John Davis said he had been talking to Schwarzenegger about returning to the Predator franchise for a reboot. Unfortunately, that still hasn't come to pass. Schwarzenegger did not return for the 2018 Shane Black reboot. Not that Arnold is above sequels. The Q&A in which Schwarzenegger slammed the Predator sequels was after a screening of Terminator: Genysis, one of several Terminator films Arnold has deigned to make. And after returning to acting, Schwarzenegger even joined the Expendables franchise. Perhaps Predator 5 can find the artistic merit (or cash) necessary to bring Schwarzenegger back to the franchise.