Fox and Ridley Scott are getting closer to returning to space as Jack Paglen (Transcendence) is in talks to write the follow-up to last year’s sci-fi blockbuster, Prometheus, Variety reports.
Scott will produce again through his Scott Free banner though it’s unknown at this time if he will direct. Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender are also expected to return.
Plot details are still be worked out but Scott has said in interviews that while the first Prometheus had several elements linking it to the Alien franchise, this latest installment will feel more like its own film.
Despite not having a greenlight, the sci-fi movie’s new screenwriter is a good sign for a project Fox has been wary of committing to even though the last installment, written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof, made more than $400 million worldwide.
For Paglen, the film marks his second high-profile project following Wally Pfister and Johnny Depp’s sci-fi thriller Transcendence, which opens next April.
If you thought that all it took was one Evil Dead remake, a Django Unchained, a Prometheus or a few mega-hit Hangover films to prove to everyone that R-rated movies can make money, you’d be wrong.
Take theater owners for example. Last weekend at the industry convention CinemaCon in Las Vegas many of them pleaded with the studios for less R-rated movies. Per The New York Times, John Fithian (president and chief executive of the National Association of Theater Owners) pleaded with studios, “Make more family-friendly films and fewer R-rated titles.”
While it’s true that box office revenues are up (due to ridiculously inflated ticket prices), actual attendance is down 12%. I’m sure that piracy is a part of this to some degree, but if there’s an actual content issue I’d say that Fithian is missing his target completely. While it’s true that nothing has the potential to perform commercially like a four-quadrant movie that adults and children can both connect with, plenty of those fail too. And you know which of those really bomb? The bad ones, typically (I’m making an exception here for the awesome and underseen Frankenweenie). Jack, The Giant Slayer, anyone?
Fithian claims that attendance has suffered, “under the weight of too many R-rated movies.” Wrong. It’s a QUALITY issue (in terms of both film and exhibition) – not a ratings issue. Movies today, especially studio movies, are drained of risk, personality and innovation to a startling degree. Studios are wrestling creative control away from all but their highest grossing filmmakers. Not only are audiences disappointed with the product, they’re practically harassed by cell-phone abusing jerks making it even more difficult to wring any kind of enjoyment they can out of whatever mediocrity they just paid $19 (before parking) to go see. There are many times I’m dying to see a film but decide against it because I’m not in the mood to yell at some guy texting in front of me that night. In fact, I’d say one of the reasons family films perform better is that families HAVE to go. What are you going to do with two screaming kids on a Saturday afternoon? They’re a somewhat captive audience. I imagine they don’t mind cell phone use as much because they’re just struggling to keep their kids still.
Mr. Fithian, please stop asking studios to further water down their product. Stop pleading with them to ignore risk and treat films like more of a commodity than they already do. I have another solution for you. Ask the studios to make better movies instead. Then, at the same time, do what you can to improve your end of the bargain. You don’t think you’re culpable in regard to falling attendance? If you’re going to charge those prices you should police your theaters and ruthlessly remove the *ssholes. Someone opens up their phone after the first 2 minutes of the movie? Boom. Kick them out. No second chance. Also, it might help to hire people who actually know how to project your DCP’s and get decent sound in the room. That’s what we’re ostensibly paying for, especially at the “premium theaters.” It’s offensive that you want to peg this issue on a rating. I guess you won’t be playing 21 Jump Street 2* or The Hangover 3* or The Heat, the next Tarantino film or the next R-rated horror film at your theater. None of those make any money, right?
Thanks to Andrew Gonzalez for point the NY Times piece out to us.
*I’m aware that I’m crossing the streams somewhat by adding sequels (especially the likely horrible Hangover 3) to the equation since sequels are “safe bet” thinking personified. Still, they’re R – so they must not be profitable.
Update: Lindelof has responded to Slashfilm. We are including his response below the jump. He sheds some interesting light on the situation – but that doesn’t change the fact that Fox and Scott have no idea what to do now in regard to Prometheus 2.
Exclusive: Watching the 18 hours of extra features on the Prometheus Blu-ray I learned that Twentieth Century Fox didn’t trust screenwriter Jon Spaihts enough to run with his script, so they hired a big name to “clean up” Spaihts’ vision. This big draw was none other than “Lost,” Cowboys & Aliens and Star Trek Into Darkness writer Damon Lindelof, pictured.
Those of you who’ve obsessed over the quasi-Alien prequel as much as I have know that Spaihts’ vision was a one-shot**, meaning Prometheus lead right into Ridley Scott’s 1979 Alien. In fact, a source in pre-production at the time had leaked story details proclaiming that the movie takes place on the planet LV-426 where the elusive Space Jockey was first seen. At the finale of Prometheus, the Jockey ship that crashes is the exact same ship that Ripley and her crew discover in Alien. It’s a beautiful way to bridge the new sci-fi epic with the old one. But, if you saw Prometheus, you know that’s not what happened. The movie’s events don’t even take place on the same planet, occurring instead on LV 223 (which is ridiculous and means the Engineers are truly terrible at piloting their ships, crashing them all over the place).
Why? Greed took over.
Lindelof transformed Prometheus into a “trilogy”, thus stripping the first film’s conclusion of any meaning and setting Ridley and Fox up for disaster. This disaster was perpetuated when Lindelof announced he wouldn’t be penning the sequel. So, in short, the guy who convinced the filmmakers to make a trilogy, left them in the dust…
Sources close to the sequel have told Bloody Disgusting that the studio and Scott are literally “freaking out” over how to continue the story of Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), and are taking pitches from basically anyone who can crack the story*. While a sequel is nearly inevitable, it definitely puts it in flux, and in a state of jeopardy.
*We expect everyone surrounding the project to deny this story. That’s standard procedure. Don’t believe ‘em.
**Twitter follower @JonSheasby pointed us to a contradiction at Empire Magazine, where Spaihts says Scott and him talked trilogy prior to Lindelof’s hiring. You can read the bits below. READ MORE
It’s almost been a year since Ridley Scott’s Prometheus blasted into theaters leaving half the world disappointed. The other half, or maybe even less than half, thought the quasi Alien prequel was pretty fantastic. A year later, I stand by this having watched it on Blu-ray multiple times. It’s awesome.
With that said, most of you are about to groan as I report that Scott is still developing a sequel over at Fox. Noomi Rapace, who starred as Elizabeth Shaw in the first film, reveals to The Playlist that they’re currently working on the screenplay.
“They’re working on the script. I met Ridley in London a couple of weeks ago,” said Rapace. “I would love to work with him again and I know that he would like to do another one. It’s just like we need to find the right story. I hope we will.”
“And it’s interesting because people, most people I’ve talked to who see the movie, see things that are quite different. Some people who see the movie many times and discover new things. There are all these religious aspects and there are very interesting conversations,” Rapace explained. “And for me, if we do a second one, there are a lot of things to explore in there and to continue.” She added: “I would love to do it.”
Rapace is the franchise’s new lead, so it would be a shocker if she wasn’t already locked in for the trilogy. I’d go as far as to say, it’s not her choice.
It’s been known for some time that Damon Lindelof (“Lost”, Star Trek Into Darkness) won’t be returning to script the sequel for Prometheus, and now we have an explanation as to why. This will no doubt please many of you who felt that Jon Spaihts’ original draft of the film, Alien: Engineers, was superior.
I can sort of respect his decision – he didn’t want to juggle too many things at once. He told Collider about his conversation with director Ridley Scott, “The thing about Prometheus was it was a rewrite. Jon Spaihts wrote a script and I rewrote it. And still it was a year of my life that I spent on Prometheus, kind of all in. The idea of building a sequel to it—from the ground up this time—with Ridley is tremendously exciting. But at the same time, I was like, “Well that’s probably going to be two years of my life.” I can’t do what J.J. [Abrams] does. I don’t have the capability. I’m usually very single-minded creatively. I can only be working on one thing at a time. So I said to him, “I really don’t think I could start working on this movie until I do this other stuff. And I don’t know when the other stuff is going to be done.” And he was like, “Well, okay, it’s not like I asked you anyways.” He and I are on excellent terms and it was a dream come true to work with him. But much to the delight of all the fanboys, I don’t see myself being involved in Prometheus-er.”
Head over to Collider for more. Prometheus made a good deal of money so the sequel is a somewhat high priority over at Fox. Who do you think should write it?
It’s been openly stated by both director Ridley Scott and writer Damon Lindelof that Prometheus is the first in a planned trilogy all set to bridge the franchise and Scott’s 1979 classic Alien. The Hollywood Reporter confirms at least a sequel.
The $130 million-budgeted film grossed a solid but not spectacular $303 million globally, putting it right on the franchise bubble. Twentieth Century Fox confirms to the mag that Scott and the studio actively are pushing ahead with a follow-up (stars Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace are signed) and are talking to new writers because Prometheus co-scribe Damon Lindelof might not be available (good news for those of you who hate his non-explanatory writing style).
“Ridley is incredibly excited about the movie, but we have to get it right. We can’t rush it,” says Fox president of production Emma Watts, who also has overseen the successful reboots of the X-Men and Planet of the Apes franchises by turning over the reigns to innovative filmmakers.
According to the site, a Prometheus sequel would be released in 2014 or 2015. Write your reviews of the first film here.
Update: We’ve included an exclusive clue (#4 out of 15) to help you unlock a Prometheus viral map. Check it out below the video.
Ridley Scott’s Prometheus is only a couple of days away from its US release and I highly recommend it. You may have just read David Harley’s review – which makes many good points – but I liked it more than he did. My opinion of it is somewhere in the 8/10 range of Brad’s review. I also can’t stress enough how much you shouldn’t be expecting something similar to Alien. Prometheus is its own movie and its best to approach it on those terms (and let the Alien elements be bonus points along the way). I’m posting my spoiler heavy review (for discussion purposes) late tomorrow after the film’s US release. In the meantime, I’m continuing with our exclusive video interviews.
Today’s interview is with Ridley Scott himself, who I spoke to in London last week. We talk at length about the ideas and themes in the film, and also touch a bit on what the tone of the sequel might be (if it happens). Scott is a verbose, thoughtful man and I recommend giving him 6 or so minutes of your undivided attention.
“With ‘Prometheus,’ Scott 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.”
I’ve already posted an interview with Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender as well as my chats with Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce and Logan Marshall-Green. Also, over the next few days I’ll be posting two separate pieces with Damon Lindelof. Prometheus opens in the US on June 8th (click here for Brad’s spoiler light review). Head inside to check out the interview (and beware of mild spoilers I suppose). READ MORE