Back in 1987, Arnold Schwarzenegger could do no wrong. Predator and The Running Man both came out that year, when Arnold was at the top of his game. And in both films, he started as the prey and ended as the hunter.
Predator told the story of a team of commandos sent into the jungles of Central America to rescue a man supposedly shot down by a rebel guerilla group in the area. Of course, things are never quite as simple as they appear...
Dutch (Schwarzenegger) and his team find the downed helicopter, but don't quite know what to think when they find bodies flayed and hung upside down. Would the guerillas do such a horrific thing? And even after the team takes out the rebel camp, they find themselves hunted by an unseen enemy who eliminates them one at a time. It would be revealed to be an alien creature hunting them using stealth and advanced technology. When only Dutch remains, he eventually finds a way to stop this worthy foe from another world...
Predator spawned a sequel in 1990 called Predator 2, which would pit Los Angeles policeman Danny Glover against another of the aliens in an urban environment. And we've seen the Predator aliens in battle with the horrific creatures from Ridley Scott's Alien twice - in 2004's AVP: Alien vs. Predator and 2007's AVPR: Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem.
Though Predator made nearly $100 million worldwide on a $15 million production budget, Predator 2 only made $57 million worldwide... More recent films including Predators have done fairly well at the box office — AVP made more than $170 million worldwide, AVPR made more than $125 million worldwide... So I think it's safe to say that Aliens and Predators make money at the box office.
That brings us to 2010 and a new generation of stories in the Predator universe with Predators. Director Nimrod Antal and producer Robert Rodriguez decided to base a sequel not on Predator 2 or the AVP movies, but more on the original material. With a reported production budget of $40 million, the film has earned more than $125 million worldwide. (Film income and production budget numbers from BoxOfficeMojo.com.)
Rodriguez and Antal took a slightly different approach to the story, moving it completely off the Earth and sending it to the stars. On an alien world used as a huge game preserve, the Predator aliens drop killers from other worlds into the preserve - observing and hunting them one at a time to hone their battle skills.