Can you say Alien vs. Predator?
The long-in-development flick combining two of Hollywood's baddest space-monster franchises looks like it's finally getting off the drawing board.
Resident Evil director Paul Anderson has been tapped to direct the film for 20th Century Fox, Daily Variety reports.
The tussle should be a good one. Introduced in 1979's Alien, the jaw-dropping, acid-blooded insectoid race probably would have taken over the universe by now if it wasn't for the heroic efforts of Sigourney Weaver. And Arnold Schwarzenegger nearly had his butt kicked before thwarting the human-hunting, Rasta-like warrior in 1987's Predator.
The idea of pitting the two evil E.T.s against each other initially came from Dark Horse Comics, which published an Aliens vs. Predator comic book in 1990.
The series proved to be a hit, attracting the attention of Fox execs. In 1999, Fox Interactive had a huge videogame hit with Aliens vs. Predator--gamers had the choice of playing an alien, a predator or a plucky space marine--and which recently spawned the sequel, Aliens vs. Predator 2.
Still, the Alien vs. Predator film has remained on the drawing board at Fox for more than a decade, with several scripts coming and going, and producers of both Alien and Predator choosing to keep their franchises separate. (About the closest we've come to the battle royale was a brief shot of an alien skull among the trophy collection of the predator in 1990's Predator 2.)
Now, Fox is eager to breathe some life into both franchises. While the Ridley Scott-helmed original Alien earned a solid $79 million domestically in 1979 and James Cameron's 1986 Aliens grossed $85.2 million, the latter two installments underwhelmed. David Fincher's Alien3 pulled in just $55.5 million in 1993 and Jean-Paul Jeunet's Alien: Resurrection did about $48 million domestically. Likewise, the first Predator earned nearly $60 million in North America, while its sequel managed just $30.7 million.
Overseeing the project will be original Predator producers Joel Silver, Lawrence Gordon, and John Davis as well as David Giler and Walter Hill, who produced all four Alien films.
During a Q&A session at the London premiere of Resident Evil last week, Anderson revealed that he was tweaking a script, but the British filmmaker offered few details.
According to Variety, the story line will focus on a group of human scientists on a distant planet who become snacks after they decide to do a little genetic engineering on some alien and predator specimens.
With Alien vs. Predator getting the greenlight, the much-rumored Alien 5 seems to be on the shelf. The project purportedly would have returned either Scott or Cameron to the helm with Weaver reprising her role as Ripley. It seems doubtful the actress will have a hand in the new film.
While not a name director like the other Alien filmmakers, Anderson seems a decent fit for directing a project that has roots in a videogame. Aside from game-to-movie Resident Evil, he also adapted Mortal Kombat to the big screen. His résumé also includes the sci-fi stinkers Soldier (which, coincidentally, was turned into a videogame) and Event Horizon.
Fans, meanwhile, aren't sold on the choice. "I am not going to see it. It's pathetic, Fox was bickering for so long over it, and now they get a lame director to make the movie. I am disgusted," GWPredWarrior20 writes on an Alien message board.
"Uniting two totally unrelated alien characters in a contrived team-up scenario has yet to spawn anything truly amazing...so why should this flick suddenly turn out any different," writes Belshy in another post. "I'll watch it, and no, my hopes won't be high...But if it's good, I'll be extremely happy and will then buy the DVD. I'll probably buy it anyway."
And if Alien vs. Predator doesn't work out, there's always Superman vs. Batman.