Alien: Covenant may be drawing mixed reactions from fans and slightly positive reviews from the consensus of film critics, but in box office terms, it has been an undeniable success.
Director Ridley Scott’s return to the franchise he helped create has been both praised and criticized for its decision to keep the gory goods confined to one third of the film, but it follows a similar tack to what the 1979 original did, with the alien staying largely in shadows despite the occasional splashy set-piece.
Scott spends much of Alien: Covenant setting up his new slate of characters and building on the alternative world he originated with Prometheus.
Then, somewhat past the halfway point of the film, he amps up the Xenomorph sightings. How did audiences react?
According to Box Office Mojo, Alien: Covenant dethroned holdover Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 with a modest domestic take of $36 million against a $97 million production budget.
At first glance, that would give the film about $61 million of ground to make up. Thankfully for Fox, it did just that internationally with a haul of $81.9 million for a global take of approximately $118 million.
While the $97 million production budget does not account for what it cost to promote the film to domestic and overseas markets, it is still a promising start for a franchise that at one point was near extinction following the disappointing turns of Alien vs. Predator and Alien vs. Predator: Requiem.
I like Alien vs. Predator. Lower aspirations than the films it’s based on, but it fits in well with the comics, games, and ephemera. pic.twitter.com/uzoH64zfxG
— Martin Kessler (@MovieKessler) May 21, 2017
The success of Alien: Covenant all but ensures a sequel, but that brings the question of what such a movie might look like.
Even among good reviews, critics are in agreement that this latest outing was familiar territory. The capital it picked up with the return of Ridley Scott is also mostly spent, considering that Prometheus wasn’t quite what fans expected, thus dulling the novelty of Scott’s return for this outing.
Where future films may benefit is in vision. Scott had apparently sketched out a long-term plan for getting the series from Prometheus to the original Alien. He would do so with Alien: Covenant being “one of three sequels to Prometheus that will take the saga to the ‘back entrance'” of that original film, The Verge notes.
Setting future films in such a manner could be the ticket to breathing life into the franchise beyond Scott’s involvement.
For starters, making two more Alien films that lead to the original would give Scott the opportunity to realize his vision and gracefully bow out, leaving the series to go in other directions with a new spate of filmmakers.
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) May 21, 2017
The franchise definitely has directions that it can go. Coaxing David Fincher (Alien 3) back to make the film he originally intended before studios altered the original concept would be a start.
There may also be the opportunity to do a direct sequel to Aliens or to “own,” once and for all, the relevancy of Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection. (Did they happen, did they not?)
That said, there are still some concerns about whether the Alien franchise has the legs for two more sequels. When factoring in marketing budget — THR reports that as of 2014, studios were spending at least $100 million for tentpole films — Alien: Covenant is still only a moderate success.
The real question will be how the film holds up internationally as the domestic box office will likely dip below No. 1 for week two and beyond.
But what do you think, readers? Should Alien: Covenant get a sequel, and what was your take on the movie?
[Featured Image by Fox]