Although the original Mummy (1932) was set in the 1920s as were the Brendan Fraser adventure movies, the new script, by Jon Spaihts, sets the tale in the modern age.
Even with all of the flawed logic and character decisions (and there’s plenty of both) taken into consideration, I’m still a fan of Prometheus. I revisited the film on Blu-ray recently and aesthetically it really holds up, it’s an enormously watchable film. So while I’d certainly be down for a sequel, it’s a bummer to think that it’s probably not going to happen.
The reason? Momentum. It just doesn’t seem to be there anymore. Back in March there was a lot of back and forth about Damon Lindelof creatively painting the franchise into a corner and, regardless of where the blame lies (if indeed it lies anywhere), I sort of agree. Not from a creative standpoint, but a marketing one. I know that’s a weird place to operate from as a film fan, but hear me out.
Prometheus hobbled its franchise potential by being the ultimate half-measure. It wasn’t enough of an Alien film to invest its audience in the Weyland-Yutani/pre-Nostromo mythology that original writer Jon Spaihts planned on exploring in the new trilogy he was conceiving. And this isn’t necessarily Damon Lindelof’s fault, either. Spaihts’ draft introduced the Engineers after all. So even though his script actually takes place on LV-426 and implies that Rapace’s character Shaw had sent the distress signal that attracts the crew from Alien (not to mention featuring actual xenomorphs), he was already bringing some new ideas to the table.
When Lindelof was brought onboard to nudge those new ideas into the narrative spotlight (at Ridley Scott’s request mind you, it’s not like he snuck in and did all this without permission), that was the moment Prometheus likely lost its tether to any sort of trilogy involving the Weyland-Yutani corporation (as was Spaihts stated intent). However, by positioning itself as an Alien prequel (all coy statements aside – just look at the trailer), Prometheus also ensured that a significant chunk of its audience wouldn’t invest in the new mythology either.
I’d certainly be okay with two films featuring Fassbender and Rapace jetting around space looking for our “creators,” but are enough people really onboard with that to justify the cost? At a reported $130 million production budget (and a worldwide advertising budget that likely nears that figure) the film grossed $126 million domestic and $277 internationally for a worldwide total of $403 million. That’s “gross” not “net” so I’d guess that the film was only just approaching profitability before home video finally swung it into the black. And while $130 million is already a surprisingly modest budget for a film this size, it’s hard to pedal backwards and make a sequel for much cheaper. The entire appeal is the enormity of the thing, not to mention the fact that no one’s going to take a pay cut for this.
So here’s the dilemma (and this may be why Fox was “freaking out” six months ago) – either way the sequel probably makes less money than the original. There’s no way to put that “Alien prequel” curiosity back in the bottle, it’s gone. And while I’d (again) be okay with seeing an expansion of the new universe Prometheus hinted at, how many people are actually with me on that? Half the audience? $200 million worth of people at the (worldwide) box office? That’s not enough. $250M or $300M worldwide would still be more risk than incentive. Even if Scott and Fox made a truly great film the next time out it would be almost impossible to position it properly.
This isn’t a case like The Avengers or Avatar where the film made so much money that the studio is almost obligated to follow it up. This is a film that made just enough to think about a sequel. And, at this point, they may be wondering whether they should think about it at all. Even if they’ve hired a writer and are in development (which they’ve announced), I’d be surprised if it actually happens. I’d love to be wrong, of course. But I have a feeling the next time we see something even tangentially related to Prometheus on the big screen, it’ll be in an Alien reboot.
By now you probably know that Len Wiseman (Underworld, Total Recall (2012)) will be directing The Mummy remake. And you probably know that Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (co-writers of Transformers, Star Trek, Cowboys And Aliens) are producing it (and a Van Helsing remake), for Universal. The Mummy is one of the all time iconic Universal monsters, so you might have been wondering what direction this thing will take, and now Wiseman is acknowledging his intent.
He told Movieweb “There was skepticism. The difference between the two, if ‘The Mummy’ is to be the next movie for me, is that ‘The Mummy’ is a completely different film. It is a modern day take. It doesn’t have anything to do with the Brendan Fraser films, and it is not a remake of any kind… the pitch was to go with a much different tone. It was a Mummy like I’d never heard of before. Its nothing like what you would expect, at all, oddly. I was picturing Egypt, and the sand swept settings. The mummy wrappings. When I heard what they were wanting to actually do with it, it was shocking.” He added, “It’s horror. Its epic. It’s more of a modern day version of what would happen if we came across a mummy in our world today. It is pretty fascinating.”
Okay. So I like the fact that this will be a modern-day version and will eschew the aesthetics of the last 3 or 4 films in the franchise. I think Wiseman is visually talented, but I’ve never loved one of his movies. Then again the film’s screenwriter Jon Spaihts wrote that draft of Prometheus (aka Alien: Engineers) that was better than the Lindelof version – so who knows at this point?
At least it won’t be in the desert.
Wow! It’s been a long time since I’ve done this column but I think the surfacing of the script for Alien: Engineers, the original incarnation of Prometheus, is a pretty good occasion, right? Ever since the release of Prometheus over the summer there’s been intense debate between the film’s fans and its (many) detractors – would it have been better as a straight Alien prequel? Would it have made more sense? Would the characters still have been petting alien vagina snakes for no reason? I mostly liked the film, but I certainly understand some of these gripes.
We’ve always known that there are two writers on the film, Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof. Many of the film’s logical shortcomings were laid at the latter’s feet, which is understandable. He was the last writer on the project. But now that Spaihts’ original draft of Alien: Engineers has surfaced we can trace the exact origins of the elements that made up Prometheus. And, true to the conceit of the film, the answers are frustrating. While there’s some cool stuff, including lots more actual Xenomorph/Alien carnage, in Alien: Engineers – it’s surprisingly close to the Prometheus we’ve come to know and love (or hate).
So now it’s time to do an in-depth breakdown of some key differences. Do they still pet the snake? Does Fifield still turn into a Zombie? Is all of the “God” stuff still in there? Does old man Weyland still show up at the end to take you out of the movie?
All is answered inside. READ MORE
Over the past few weeks I had been on the hunt for a certain screenplay, one that has now leaked online thanks to Scribd.
BY CLICKING HERE you can download and read Jon Spaihts’ “Alien: Engineers,” his original screenplay for Fox’s Alien prequel that was later rewritten by Damon Lindelof as Prometheus, the final product that’s now on home video.
Spaihts, who also penned the garbage The Darkest Hour, is said to had focused on keeping the story within the actual realm of Alien – meaning, you’ll read about facehuggers, chestbursters and all that good stuff.
While I am one of the rare few who actually enjoy Prometheus, I am still dying to see how the original story played out, and why Fox felt the need to bring in Lindelof to mix it up. We’ll report back with a “Script to Scream” soon enough…. READ MORE
Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, his quasi Alien prequel, hit Blu-ray and DVD recently both in the UK and in the States. It apparently features some killer documentaries about the film’s development process from being a straight Alien prequel to its more heady end result.
About a week ago we provided you with a rundown of what original writer Jon Spaihts’ draft might have looked like had Ridley Scott put it up onscreen. And now we have a visual rendering of what a chestburster might have looked like in the film via a piece of concept art. If you’ll remember from last week’s article, the chestbursting was intended to occur during a sex scene between Shaw and Holloway. So be prepared for some male naughty bits.
Head inside for a more complete rendering of the Prometheus chestburster!! Warning – the image is a bit NSFW. READ MORE
I found a lot to like in the film, though I can’t really argue with its many detractors. The logic is utterly nonexistent in many of the characters. Still, I liked the ideas it tried to wrestle with. And visually I thought it was stunning. But a lot of folks wished it had been much more of an Alien film (that last, brief, xenomorph tag not being enough for them). And it was! At least back in Jon Spaihts‘ original draft (before Damon Lindelof came onboard).
Head inside to check out some details on what Prometheus was like back when it had Facehuggers, Chestbursters (during sex even) and Xenomorphs. Oh, and ostensibly more character motivation! READ MORE
Ridley Scott, director of ‘Alien’ and ‘Blade Runner,’ returns to the genre he helped define. With PROMETHEUS, he creates a groundbreaking mythology, in which a team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a thrilling journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.
Universal Pictures is officially rebooting one of their most treasured franchises, The Mummy. Of course, the lineage of pics that Stephen Sommers kicked off in 1999 was itself just the latest reboot of the material (even though that was long before the term “reboot” was coined). This latest version will still be produced by Sean Daniel and (at least this initial draft) will be written by Jon Spaihts (Prometheus, The Darkest Hour).
Per Variety, “Universal Pictures has tapped “Prometheus” scribe Jon Spaihts to pen a reboot of “The Mummy” franchise, which Sean Daniel will return to produce. Stephen Sommers’ 1999 take on “The Mummy,” which starred Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, grossed $415 million worldwide. A 2004 sequel grossed $433 worldwide and Rob Cohen’s “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” took in $401 million worldwide, indicating there’s still plenty of interest in the franchise.”
For what it’s worth, Spaihts seems to have the right intentions, “I see it as the sort of opportunity I had with Prometheus: to go back to a franchise’s roots in dark, scary source material, and simultaneously open it up to an epic scale we haven’t seen before.”
What direction would you guys like to see the material go in? READ MORE