Just two weeks ago, an unconfirmed report indicated that Twentieth Century Fox had pulled the plug on Ridley Scott’s Alien: Awakening, the tentatively-titled third film in the Alien prequels that would follow both Prometheus and Alien: Covenant. It wasn’t that surprising – considering the weak box office performance of Covenant, and Scott’s ability to go back to the drawing board and reel in a budget – but what really muddied the waters was Disney’s acquisition of Twentieth Century Fox. Would Disney, a family-friendly company, back such a violent, R-rated franchise? Would they look at the numbers of Prometheus and Covenant and say to themselves, “Man, what a great investment!”? I think not, and it’s looking more and more grim for Scott’s plans to turn Alien into the next Star Wars. In fact, after months of posturing that nothing would stand in the way of Awakening‘s early 2018 production, Scott has finally confirmed the franchise’s uncertainty:
“It looks to me that the Fox deal is certainly going to go ahead with Disney, and I’ve been with Fox for a number years now,” the All the Money In the World director told Digital Spy before sounding doubt about Disney’s willingness to make a darker kind of film. “I’m hoping I’ll still probably be there so whether or not they go ahead with such a dark subject, being Disney, as aliens remains to be seen.”
He continued: “I think they should because I think, when people have a hard and fast franchise which has ongoing interest, it’s crazy not to do something with it.“
As John Squires and I have expressed on several occasions, we’re hoping that Disney shifts gears and goes back to Neill Blomkamp‘s plans for an Alien 5 with Sigourney Weaver and Michael Biehn returning to their Aliens role. PG-13 and fun seem to be the right course to take this slowly dying franchise.
Even Scott reveals that PG-13 films are the focus of Disney’s strategy: “That’s why they’re so successful. And they draw the line at anything that crosses PG-13,” Scott told the site. “[If] they find that they’re so successful with that that they want to cross the line and do something a little darker, and if they do that, do they want to do that under Disney or do they want to do that under the Fox banner? I think there’s a business plan afoot definitely.”
With that said, Deadpool and Logan have been big money markers for Fox, and New Mutants is poised to explode as well. It’ll be interesting to see how Disney retools Fox once this merger is approved.
What do you think?