Ridley Scott’s Alien Covenant and Sony’s The Emoji Movie are two wildly different films that are arriving in 2017 and have already generated much interest. Alien Covenant is both a sequel to Scott’s divisive Prometheus and a prequel to the director’s sci-fi classic Alien. On the opposite end of the spectrum, The Emoji Movie is an animated film based on the popular digital ideograms and smileys known as emojis.
Awareness of both Alien Covenant and The Emoji Movie was buoyed by the release of teaser trailers over the winter holidays frame. Technically released (very early) on Christmas Day, the Alien Covenant trailer teases a return to the visceral horror of early entries in the Alien franchise, with glimpses of familiar creatures pleasing fans all over the world. The Emoji Movie trailer took more of a meta-approach by comparison, with the Meh emoji directly informing viewers of the film’s upcoming release. Nevertheless, both movies have been the talk of the Internet of late.
The media-measurement firm comScore and its PreAct service (h/t Variety) are reporting that Alien: Covenant topped social media this past week by generating 63, 000 new conversations, with The Emoji Movie (surprisingly) not too far behind with 61, 000 conversations. Universal’s The Mummy reboot was third last week with 39,000 new conversations following the release of a brand-new image depicting Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll in the film. Rounding out the top five on social media were Blade Runner 2049 (the Blade Runner sequel that is produced, but not directed, by Scott) and the true story-based historical drama Hidden Figures with 31,000 and 29,000 new conversations, respectively.
While the hype for Alien Covenant has been generally positive however, the response to the official sneak peek at The Emoji Movie has not. With almost 50,000 dislikes on YouTube, the trailer for the animated family film (featuring the voice talents of T.J. Miller) is facing an uphill struggle to win viewers over. The Emoji Movie promises a similar premise to box-office smash hits Wreck It Ralph and Inside Out, with a look into the the never-before-seen world inside your smartphone. This tried-and-tested formula could work for the world of smileys, but the widespread sense of disdain surrounding the film might just smother its chances of success.
Teaser trailers can be misleading, however, so this early buzz isn’t necessarily an indicator of success. There was a huge amount of hype for Prometheus before the film’s release, which ultimately left many fans feeling deflated. Alien Covenant is clearly an attempt to placate those same fans by delivering a more direct prequel to the acclaimed Alien – whether it can win over Prometheus‘ detractors, remains to be seen. Conversely, The Emoji Movie could surprise viewers who feel that this animated feature is a cynical attempt to mine the social media smiley trend for all it’s worth.