“Prometheus,” a prequel to Ridley Scott's “Alien,” shot out at an impressive $3.56 million from midnight showings at 1,368 theaters last night according to Boxoffice Mojo.
That’s higher than the $3 million midnight start by “Inception” in summer 2010 and also twice the recent midnight debuts of “Men in Black 3” ($1.55 million) and “Snow White and the Huntsman” ($1.38 million).
This weekend the 20th Century Fox film squares off against another 3D blockbuster, Dreamworks animated film “Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted,” which will open in 4,258 locations, while “Prometheus” opens at 3,394 theaters. Mojo predicts that from June 8-10, “Prometheus” will earn $55.5 million and “Madagascar 3,” will follow close behind with $53.8 million.
The original film, Ridley Scott's Alien, which kicked of the “Alien" franchise, earned $78.9 million or the equivalent of $249.1 million adjusting for ticket price inflation, according to Mojo in summer 1979. James Cameron continued the series with 1986's Aliens ($85.2 million, $181.8 million adjusted). Both films have been considered the gold standard in the sci-fi genre. Then later sequels “Alien 3” and “Alien Resurrection” in the 1990’s took some shine off the sci-fi franchise while “Alien Vs. Predator” and “Aliens Vs. Predator – Requiem” made in the past decade are, well, better off forgotten.
We saw “Prometheus” at a media screening the other day and although it doesn’t deliver the chills and thrills, or element of surprise as the original – slimy eel-like creatures jumping out of body cavities don’t have quite the same shock value anymore – it still has some impressive technical special effects and a terrific performance by Noomi Rapace, who brings as much intensity to her role as scientist Elizabeth Shaw as she did playing Lisbeth Salander in the “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” films. She has a scene where she does a self-surgery C-section – hint, the fetus is not human - that has a high icky factor and delivers some real jolts and chills that won’t disappoint.
“Prometheus” sets up audiences for a sequel or sequels, and the ending raises a lot of mysteries and questions, which viewers might find frustrating, as it did for me, or keep fanboys waiting in fascinated suspended anticipation for the next installment.
My guest and I argued about whether the creatures in the film known as “Engineers” created humans on purpose or humans were created by mistake and that’s why they want to destroy us. (I subscribe to the later theory.) Anyway it will leave audiences scratching their heads and how that will translate in terms of box office we’ll soon see.