Watch out, penguins and zebra, the aliens are coming for you.
Prometheus co-writer Jon Spaihts tweeted on June 11: "Madagascar fans: you are legion and drunk with power. We shall see. We #Prometheus fans challenge you to a tug-of-war."
Madagascar 3 beat Prometheus at the box office in their opening weekend with $60.35 million compared to $50 million for the Ridley Scott thriller.
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Widening the thematic scope without sacrificing too much of the claustrophobia that made the original 1979 Alien universally spooky Prometheus takes the trophy for this summer's most adult-oriented blockbuster entertainment. The movie will leave your mouth agape for its entire runtime first with its majestic exploration of an alien planet and conjectures on the origins of the human race second with its gross-out body horror that leaves no spilled gut to the imagination. Thin characters feel more like pawns in Scott's sci-fi prequel but stunning visuals shocking turns and grand questions more than make up for the shallow ensemble. "Epic" comes in many forms. Prometheus sports all of them.
Based on their discovery of a series of cave drawings all sharing a similar painted design Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are recruited by Weyland to head a mission to another planet one they believe holds the answers to the creation of life on Earth. Along for the journey are Vickers (Charlize Theron) the ruthless Weyland proxy Janek (Idris Elba) a blue collar captain a slew of faceless scientists and David (Michael Fassbender) HAL 9000-esque resident android who awakens the crew of spaceship Prometheus when they arrive to their destination. Immediately upon descent there's a discovery: a giant mound that's anything but natural. The crew immediately prepares to scope out the scene zipping up high-tech spacesuits jumping in futuristic humvees and heading out to the site. What they discover are the awe-inspiring creations of another race. What they bring back to the ship is what they realize may kill their own.
The first half of Prometheus could be easily mistaken for Steven Spielberg's Alien a sense of wonder glowing from every frame not too unlike Close Encounters. Scott takes full advantage of his fictional settings and imbues them with a reality that makes them even more tantalizing. He shoots the vistas of space and the alien planet like National Geographic porn and savors the interior moments on board the Prometheus full of hologram maps sleeping pods and do-it-yourself surgery modules with the same attention. Prometheus is beautiful shot in immersive 3D that never dampers Dariusz Wolski's sharp photography. Scott's direction seems less interested in the run-or-die scenario set up in the latter half of the film but the film maintains tension and mood from beginning to end. It all just gets a bit…bloodier.
Jon Spaihts' and Damon Lindelof's script doesn't do the performers any favors shuffling them to and fro between the ship and the alien construction without much room for development. Reveals are shoehorned in without much setup (one involving Theron's Vickers that's shockingly mishandled) but for the most part the ensemble is ready to chomp into the script's bigger picture conceits. Rapace is a physical performer capable of pulling off a grisly scene involving an alien some sharp objects and a painful procedure (sure to be the scene of the blockbuster season. Among the rest of the crew Fassbender's David stands out as the film's revelatory performance delivering a digestible ambiguity to his mechanical man that playfully toys with expectations from his first entrance. The creature effects in Prometheus will wow you but even Fassbender's smallest gesture can send the mind spinning. The power of his smile packs more of a punch than any facehugger.
Much like Lindelof's Lost Prometheus aims to explore the idea of asking questions and seeking answers and on Scott's scale it's a tremendous unexpected ride. A few ideas introduced to spur action fall to the way side in the logic department but with a clear mission and end point Prometheus works as a sweeping sci-fi that doesn't require choppy editing or endless explosions to keep us on the edge of our seats. Prometheus isn't too far off from the Alien xenomorphs: born from existing DNA of another creature the movie breaks out as its own beast. And it's wilder than ever.
While the mystery behind man's creation is the question that burns at the heart of this week's sci-fi epic Prometheus, the movie's own birth can be traced fairly definitively. Director Ridley Scott had long been mulling over prequelizing his seminal, 1979 space horror Alien, bringing on artists and writer Jon Spaihts half a decade to go to develop a story. But it all finally came together when LOST vet Damon Lindelof came on board to polish the screenplay into Prometheus — a sci-fi in the vein of Alien that stands alone with heady, big picture concepts and terrifying creature mayhem. Touting that combination, it was a no-brainer that Fox would move ahead with the film and let the creative team run wild with their seed of a cinematic idea.
But even with a pedigree comprised of Hollywood's upper echelon — a standard continued to be set by the top-notch cast of Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, and Noomi Rapace — Prometheus is still a risk for the studio. Committing to the hard R-rating the material desperately calls for, Fox boldly steps out this weekend into an arena where few have found blockbuster-sized success. The R rating presents a formidable challenge for a movie, limiting their audience to the 18 and up crowd, a majority who are not the target demographic when it comes to theatrical experiences — especially during the summer. A few days ago, The Avengers became the third highest-grossing movie of all time, thanks to its transcendent ability to become a four-quadrant movie. The kids who frequent the air-conditioned safehavens of movie theaters during the summer trekked out for repeat viewings of the comic book action flick; adults who grew up with the comics finally had an event film; and those who couldn't care less about a group of caped crusaders punching aliens in the faces were dragged along by their excited friends. With an R rating, Prometheus already narrows the field of vision.
Despite the restrictive nature of the MPAA's adult branding, R-rated movies can triumph at the box office. 2012 has seen two films branded with R cross the $100 million mark: the raunchy comedy 21 Jump Street and Denzel Washington's Safe House. 2011 even saw an R-rated movie blow past $200 million, with The Hangover Part II grossing $254.5 million in the states alone. The biggest hurdle for Prometheus may be its sci-fi roots — while R-rated comedies thrive, they naturally appeal to a broader audience and, in general, cost significantly less than a special effects-driven spectacle. The cost of producing Prometheus is anyone's guess, but it's safe to assume that as a summer movie, it has to make summer movie numbers — which, these days, is upwards of $200 million. Very few R-rated, sci-fi movies have been able to cross that event horizon, with 2003's Matrix Reloaded ($281 million) being the most recent. Only two other movies fit as apt comparisons: 1991's Terminator 2: Judgment Day ($204.8 million) and (a bit of a stretch) the 2007's comic book adaptation 300 ($210.6 million). Even franchise revivals that stir up nostalgia don't muster up much business. 2003's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines bowed out at $150.4 million.
The factor that could help Prometheus mission into the great box office unknown is the ship's captain: Ridley Scott. The auteur director has made a career out of R-rated films targeted directly at mature moviegoers. Scott has made five movies in his career that have made over $100 million, four of which were rated R: Gladiator ($187.7 million), Hannibal ($165.1 million), American Gangster ($130.2 million), and Black Hawk Down ($108.6 million). Back when the director was in the genre business, with entries like Alien, Blade Runner and Legend, movies weren't raking in the amounts of money they do today. His return to summer-friendly could provide Prometheus with the draw to overcome the R rating curse, making the film Scott's career best.
Scott, Lindelof and the rest of the Prometheus crew had few bumps in making of their film. There were assumptions that Fox would take the safe road, trim down the movie's violence and secure a PG-13 rating suitable for the masses. Instead, they stuck with the unfiltered imagination of Scott and Co. Will the risk pay off? The movie has already made over $40 million worldwide before its descent
into American box offices and that success could easily translate
stateside. A mega-hit with an R-rating is a rarity, but as evidenced, it may be a void audiences are clamoring to have filled.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
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Prometheus & R-Rated Box Office Returns
Ridley Scott is up to something, but unlike we first expected it's not a prequel to Alien.
Deadline reports that the director's new project -- formerly and hilariously (considering it was about killer-aliens) entitled Paradise -- is now called Prometheus. The project, initially written by Jon Spaihts (The Darkest Hour) and updated by Damon Lindelof (Lost, Star Trek), started as a prequel to Alien but slowly morphed into something else. Now, Scott plans to take the story in a different direction. But don't worry, Noomi Rapace is still starring and either Angelina Jolie or Charlize Theron are in talks for the film as well.
Are you confused? Well, don't be. Scott explains.
“While Alien was indeed the jumping off point for this project, out of the creative process evolved a new, grand mythology and universe in which this original story takes place," he said. "The keen fan will recognize strands of Alien’s DNA, so to speak, but the ideas tackled in this film are unique, large and provocative. I couldn't be more pleased to have found the singular tale I'd been searching for, and finally return to this genre that's so close to my heart."
On top of writing a sweet movie, Lindelof is thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside a director like Scott. And really, who could blame him? Isn't it everyone's dream to one day work with the man who scared the hell out of them as a child?
"In a world flooded with prequels, sequels and reboots, I was incredibly struck by just how original Ridley's vision was for this movie," Lindelof said. "It's daring, visceral and hopefully, the last thing anyone expects. When I sat in a movie theater as a kid, feet raised off the floor for fear that something might grab my ankles, I never dreamed in my wildest imagination I would one day get to collaborate with the man responsible for it. Working alongside him has been nothing short of a dream come true."
So, good news, y'all. Ridley Scott's return to sci-fi for the first time since Blade Runner is shaping up to be more than just another "hey I want to revisit a time period when I was more successful!" moment that you often see with Hollywood veterans. Prometheus hits theaters on March 9, 2012.
As director Ridley Scott gears up for the anticipated 3D prequel to his terrifying 1979 sci-fi classic Alien, we're hearing rumors that Swedish breakout star Noomi Rapace could be first in line for the Ripley-esque lead role. According to Deadline's Mike Fleming, sources are saying that Rapace, who played Lisbeth Salander in the international hit thriller The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, "met and left a strong impression" with Scott and 20th Century Fox.
Scott has been taking meetings all week, testing a number of actresses for the big role - which will likely mirror Sigourney Weaver's original heroine, Ripley - including Carey Mulligan (who recently starred opposite Shia LaBeouf in Wall Street 2) and Abbie Cornish (who Scott directed in A Good Year). Supposedly the director has been trying to get Gemma Arterton on the phone, too.
While sources say meetings are ongoing with potential cast members and that no decisions have been made, it's a safe bet to consider Rapace a likely frontrunner for the Alien prequel. The talented 30-year-old actress has become a buzzy name in Hollywood seemingly overnight, after winning the European Film Awards' Best Actress category for her role in the Millennium Trilogy films (of which Dragon Tattoo is the first part), and has already signed on to co-star in the next Sherlock Holmes movie with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. And production on the sequel wouldn't conflict with the next Alien, which is still in the scripting process with newcomer Jon Spaihts and rumored rewriter Damon Lindelof (who wrote for Lost and was a co-writer for the upcoming Jon Favreau- directed Cowboys & Aliens).
Rapace has definitely got the look and 'tude to fill Ripley's shoes (or a similar space heroine), but Scott probably has a long list of actresses lining up for what could be a career-making role. We'll hear in the coming weeks who the director ultimately chooses, so stay tuned.
In a convoluted plot worthy of the show he helped write and produce, Lost's Damon Lindelof has been assigned to rewrite 20th Century Fox's Alien prequel… or not.
Deadline reports that Lindelof originally met with director Ridley Scott to discuss the possibility of his rewriting the script for Scott's Alien prequel, which the studio wants him to direct. But when the two sat down, their chat evolved into a heated brainstorming session, and ended with Scott offering Lindelof the chance to write a stand-alone science fiction actioner based on their conversation.
When he turns it in, the studio may well decide to develop Lindelof's story into its own movie - though they may discard it and ask him to return to his rewrite of Jon Spaiht's original script. It's also possible Lindelof's draft could mean an entirely new direction for the Alien prequel project - if Scott likes what he sees.
Lindelof just finished working on the Jon Favreau-directed Cowboys and Aliens, which is currently in production in New Mexico with Daniel Craig, and is currently hard at work writing and producing the Star Trek sequel with fellow writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who were also onboard for Cowboys and Aliens. Despite all that work, Lindelof reportedly leapt at the opportunity to get involved with Scott, his 1979 Alien having been such a seminal influence on the writer at the tender age of six.
Rebooting the Alien franchise has been a high priority for Fox in this seeming Golden Age of remakes and sequels. However, Ridley Scott hadn't considered actually directing an Alien prequel until he read Spaihts' script, after which he decided to take on the project himself. That makes it all the more interesting that Scott is now so taken with Lindelof, such that he is debating having him rewrite the movie altogether. At the very least, that makes me somewhat optimistic: I don't know what went on during that brainstorming session, but it must have been pretty good for Scott to consider changing the entire course of the Alien franchise.
He's taken on high-octane racing adventures, cerebral dramas and fascinating character studies but now, Emile Hirsch will find himself in the middle of an alien invasion. Variety reports that the actor will join Olivia Thirlby in New Regency and Summit Entertainment's The Darkest Hour, a thriller about a group of kids struggling to survive in Russia after an alien invasion.
Chris Gorak is set to direct from a script by Les Bohem and Jon Spaihts. Timur Bekmambetov and Tom Jacobson are producing the $40 million production, which is scheduled to start in Moscow this June.
The project is described as a 28 Days Later-like thriller, with aliens taking the terrorizing place of the infected walking dead from that 2002 horror flick. What do we think of the developing production? Let's review:
Emile Hirsch and Olivia Thirlby
28 Days Later-like vibe.
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Fox is resuscitating its Alien franchise. Ridley Scott is attached to return as director to the series he created in 1979 while the studio has hired Jon Spaihts to write a prequel. The new film will precede the 1979 sci-fi horror movie that proclaimed "In space no one can hear you scream."
In the original, which starred Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley, the crew of a commercial towing ship returning to Earth is awakened and sent to respond to a distress signal from a nearby planet. However, the crew discovers too late that the signal generated by an empty ship was meant to warn them. And there was of course that awful gastroenterological problem suffered by John Hurt...
Spaihts, says Variety, got the writing job after pitching the studio and Scott Free, which will produce the film. A new go-to-guy for space thrillers, Spaihts was hired by Keanu Reeves to write the space journey epic Passengers at Morgan Creek. That script got Spaihts the meeting with Fox and Scott Free.
Separately, Fox has separately hired Spaihts to rewrite The Darkest Hour, which Timur Bekmambetov will produce with Tom Jacobson. Spaihts is also writing Children of Mars for Disney and Scott Rudin. He will follow by rewriting St. George and the Dragon for Sony and Red Wagon.
The original Alien spawned three sequels, but this is the first time that Scott has set his mind on directing one.
Bloody Disgusting echoes what are likely the sentiments of many saying, "If there's one way to win over the fans, it's to bring the original helmer back onboard with his blessings."
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