Alien vs. Predator (also known as AVP) is a 2004 science fiction film directed by Paul W. S. Anderson for 20th Century Fox and starring Sanaa Lathan and Lance Henriksen. The film adapts the Alien vs. Predator crossover imprint bringing together the eponymous creatures of the Alien and Predator series, a concept which originated in a 1989 comic book. This is the first of the two-part Alien vs. Predator prequel series to the Alien franchise. Anderson, Dan O'Bannon, and Ronald Shusett wrote the story, and Anderson and Shane Salerno adapted the story into a screenplay. Their writing was influenced by Aztec mythology, the comic book series, and the writings of Erich von Däniken.
Set in 2004, the film follows a team of archaeologists assembled by billionaire Charles Bishop Weyland (Henriksen) for an expedition near the Antarctic to investigate a mysterious heat signal. Weyland hopes to claim the find for himself, and his group discovers a pyramid below the surface of a whaling station. Hieroglyphs and sculptures reveal that the pyramid is a hunting ground for Predators who kill Aliens as a rite of passage. The humans are caught in the middle of a battle between the two species and attempt to prevent the Aliens from reaching the surface.
The film was released on 13 August 2004, in North America and received mostly negative reviews from film critics. Some praised the special effects and set designs, while others dismissed the film for its "wooden dialogue" and "cardboard characters". Nevertheless, Alien vs. Predator grossed over $172 million at the worldwide box office and spawned a sequel in 2007 titled Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem.
In Antarctica in 1904, a man runs out of the snow to save himself from an unknown predator. He gets trapped and eventually attacked by the predator, but also another alien creature. In 2004, a satellite detects a mysterious heat bloom beneath Bouvetøya, an island about one thousand miles off of the coast of Antarctica. Wealthy industrialist Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen) assembles a team of scientists to investigate the heat source and claim it for his multinational communications company, Weyland Industries. The team includes archaeologists, linguistic experts, drillers, mercenaries, and a guide named Alexa Woods (Sanaa Lathan).
As a Predator ship reaches Earth's orbit, it blasts a shaft through the ice towards the source of the heat bloom. When the humans arrive at the site above the heat source, an abandoned whaling station, they find the shaft and descend beneath the ice. They discover a mysterious pyramid and begin to explore it, finding evidence of a civilisation predating written history and what appears to be a sacrificial chamber filled with human skeletons with ruptured rib cages.
Meanwhile, three Predators land and kill the humans on the surface, making their way down to the pyramid and arriving just as the team unwittingly powers up the structure. An Alien queen awakes from cryogenic stasis and begins to produce eggs, from which facehuggers hatch and attach to several humans trapped in the sacrificial chamber. Chestbursters emerge from the humans and quickly grow into adult Aliens. Conflicts erupt between the Predators, Aliens, and humans, resulting in several deaths. Unbeknownst to the others, a Predator is implanted with an Alien embryo.
Through translation of the pyramid's hieroglyphs the explorers learn that the Predators have been visiting Earth for thousands of years. It was they who taught early human civilisations how to build pyramids, and were worshipped as gods. Every 100 years they would visit Earth to take part in a rite of passage in which several humans would sacrifice themselves as hosts for the Aliens, creating the "ultimate prey" for the Predators to hunt. If overwhelmed, the Predators would activate their self-destruct weapons to eliminate the Aliens and themselves. The explorers deduce that this is why the current Predators are at the pyramid, and that the heat bloom was to attract humans for the purpose of making new Aliens to hunt.
The remaining humans decide that the Predators must be allowed to succeed in their hunt so that the Aliens do not reach the surface. As the battle continues most of the characters are killed, including Weyland, Sebastian, Miller, Stafford, and Verheidan, leaving only Alexa and a single Predator to fight against the Aliens. The two form an alliance and use the Predator's self-destruct device to destroy the pyramid and the remaining Aliens. Alexa and the Predator reach the surface, where they battle the escaped Alien queen. They defeat the queen by attaching its chain to a water tower and pushing it over a cliff into the water, dragging the queen to the ocean floor. The Predator, however, dies from its wounds.
A Predator ship uncloaks and several Predators appear. They collect their fallen comrade and present Alexa with one of their spear weapons in recognition of her skill as a warrior. As they retreat into space, a chestburster erupts from the dead Predator, beginning the events of Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem.
- Sanaa Lathan as Alexa Woods, an experienced guide who spent several seasons exploring the Arctic and Antarctic environments.
- Lance Henriksen as Charles Bishop Weyland, the billionaire head of Weyland Industries.
- Raoul Bova as Sebastian De Rosa, an Italian archaeologist who is able to translate the pyramid's hieroglyphs.
- Ewen Bremner as Graeme Miller, a member of the exploration team.
- Colin Salmon as Maxwell "Max" Stafford, assistant to Mr. Weyland.
- Tommy Flanagan as Mark Verheiden, a mercenary member of the exploration team.
- Joseph Rye as Joe Connors, a member of the exploration team.
- Agathe de La Boulaye as Adele Rousseau, a mercenary member of the exploration team.
- Carsten Norgaard as Rustin Quinn, a mercenary member of the exploration team.
- Liz May Brice as Selene, the team's supervisor.
- Sam Troughton as Thomas "Tom" Parkes, a member of the exploration team.
- Ian Whyte as the Predator, one of three Predators who come to Earth to create and hunt Aliens within the pyramid as a rite of passage. Whyte played the lead Predator, called "Scar" in the film's credits.
- Tom Woodruff, Jr. as the Alien. The Alien played by Woodruff is listed in the film's credits as "Grid," after a grid-like wound received during the film.