Sorry, Ridley Scott: The 'Alien' Franchise Is No 'Star Wars'

Alien: Covenant has finally come out, and the movie managed to topple Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 from the top spot of the box office. But the results were a mixed bag for Fox.

Filmmaker Ridley Scott returns to his iconic Alien franchise with his new Alien: Covenant.

With each passing Alien film, we are introduced to a new group of people who come into contact with the xenomorphs.

Unlike Prometheus, which loosely tried to reference Alien, Covenant fully embraces its place in the franchise, and has several callbacks to behind-the-scenes elements. Like some of the alien offspring, "Covenant" is a hybrid: part gory "Alien"-style scare-fest, part chilly "Prometheus" existentialism". "Alien: Covenant" was written by Tony-winning playwright John Logan ("Red) and much of the story takes place as the crew is pursued by an aggressive alien life form which it first encounters on that supposedly uninhabited planet".

Covenant has already proven an global smash, bagging $47 million from 34 foreign markets starting last weekend for a worldwide total of $62 million, according to Box Office Mojo's figures. And despite the aforementioned box office success of other R-rated films, the Alien franchise has a strong association with blood and guts that is both its selling point and an isolating factor.

Two of those are wide-release genre films: the family comedy sequel "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul" and the teen weepie romance "Everything Everything". To the delight of Alien fans, Alien: Covenant bursts out following the same formula as the original Alien film nearly 40 years ago.

Two other new releases landed in the top five.

Guardians, a lighthearted Disney flick about a band of misfit space adventurers played by Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, showed continued strength, surpassing US$300 million in domestic ticket sales to date. With $301.8 million domestically, it's just $32 million away from the domestic gross of 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy, and it could surpass it by month's end. Snatched fell 61 percent in its second outing to $7.6 million from 3,511 theaters for a 10-day domestic total of $32.8 million. Its weekend take was US$7.6 million.

Also from Fox, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul" is the fourth film in a series. "Guardians" has brought in $301 million USA box office since it opened March 21.

Alien: Covenant brought in $4.2 million in Thursday night previews, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which has it projecting for around a $45 million opening weekend.

  • Salvatore Jensen