Alien: Covenant has dropped a whopping 80% at the box office Friday-to-Friday on its second weekend. Alien has gone through many iterations, but despite looking dead several times, unlike other long-running franchises there has never been a massive gap between movies – the longest is seven years between the original film and first sequel Aliens as well as Alien: Resurrection and Alien vs. Predator. This is in part because, despite varying widely in quality, they’re dependably profitable.
However, recent entry Covenant is struggling. The film opened strongly worldwide, but its domestic debut was lower than expected, with Ridley Scott’s prequel-sequel bringing in only $36 million. Going into Memorial Day weekend, the film had stiff competition from newcomers Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Baywatch, as well as the prospect of strong return business for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and based on Friday numbers it’s not doing well.
As reported by Forbes, Covenant made an estimated $3 million on Friday, making an 80% drop from the $15 million it brought in on that day last week. This puts it on track to be one of the ten biggest second-week drops of all time.
Big drops like this are fairly common for tentpole releases where opening weekends make up the majority of the take. Indeed, Prometheus dropped 73% on its second Friday back in 2012. However, because Covenant started off on a lower footing – it made $15 million less on opening than its predecessor – it’s a more worrying sign as it indicates an almost immediate stagnation. The reason for this is unclear, but the somewhat confused focus of the film’s marketing – it was sold as a standard slasher in the vein of the original Alien, but was if anything more a direct sequel to Prometheus, with Michael Fassbender’s David the true focus – is likely to have played a part.
Covenant cost $97 million and to date has made $136 million By Hollywood math, which dictates that a film must make back double of its budget, the film can still come out of theaters in the black, but if it continues to hemorrhage box office receipts it’s unlike to climb much higher than $200 million (it’s circling a $80 million domestic total, with international sales making up the rest).
Ridley Scott has been characteristically candid about his developing plans for the future of the franchise, saying he expects to start filming the next prequel installment in the next year or so. Whether this box office drop will alter Fox’s plans, either for producing the movie in general or the budget they gift him, is yet to be known, but they’re sure to not be too happy with the performance.