A Look at Box Office Figures for the "Alien" Franchise; Where Will "Prometheus" Fall?

Posted 3:24 PM June 5th, 2012 by Senh Duong

In anticipation of this week’s opening of Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus,” which is set in the Alien universe and is a sort of a prequel, I went to BoxOfficeMojo.com to compile box office figures for the entire Alien franchise, excluding the two AVPs (“Alien vs. Predator”).

I’m not counting the extra amount from the re-release of “Alien” either, which added just a couple mil to its total.

The highest grossing of the series is James Cameron’s “Aliens,” the first sequel to Ridley Scott’s “Alien.” Cameron’s version is more action-oriented, featuring machine guns and the popular mech suit. Audiences loved it, powering it to $85M at the box office in 1986, besting the first film’s $79M.

It’s all downhill from there though. The third film “Alien 3,” which was directed David Fincher, returned to the first film’s horror roots, but disappointed with just $55.5M at the box office. Especially following Cameron’s film, Fincher’s version felt like a downgrade. There was barely any action, and the scale of the film just seems a lot smaller. Ripley’s shaved head didn’t help the film’s appeal much either.

The fourth film “Alien Resurrection,” directed by “The City of Lost Children” helmer Jean-Pierre Jeunet, continued the downward spiral with $48M. It paired Sigurney Weaver with then hot Winona Ryder. It also tried to return the series to Cameron’s sensibilities by adding Ron Pearlman and more firepower. It didn’t help though.

It seems like every five to seven years, Fox feels the need to release an Alien film, even if the box office performance following Cameron’s release had been disappointing. I always had the feeling that the later Alien films would do better, but they never did. Fincher and Jeunet are brilliant directors, but they just couldn’t breathe life to the series.

The hype had always been much higher than the amount of tickets sold. Will that be the case this time around with “Prometheus?” I hope not, and I don’t think it will be. It’s my most anticipated Hollywood film this year.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the “Want to See” figure is almost 38K. That’s slightly higher than “The Hunger Games” the week of its release. I don’t think it’ll do “Hunger Games” numbers, but it'll still be big this weekend.

On HSX, the figures look pretty good too. The “Opening Weekend” derivative is currently priced at H$62.46; users are predicting a $62.46M opening. The movie is priced at H$176.68; users think it’ll make $177M total domestically.

So the anticipation is very high - probably a lot higher than in previous years - and the expectations are also up there.

How’s the actual movie? It’s looking pretty good. On Rotten Tomatoes, it’s at 79% after 57 reviews. That’s solid, especially for the scifi genre. None of the other films in the franchise since “Aliens” were well received by critics.

Overall, it’s all looking good, and it should easily surpass the box office of the previous films. With a budget of $120M-$130M, it has to. This time, I also think it’ll meet box office expectations.

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