Pack up your children and grab yer guns because aliens are going to be everywhere for the next couple years. Hollywood has always loved them, especially Steven Spielberg, but thanks to the success of District 9, Star Trek, and Avatar last year, a flurry of new alien projects are in development. Sadly, not a one of them is a sequel to Batteries Not Included. Maybe next year. I've left out a couple movies like Green Lantern since they are only somewhat alien related.
Behold the full list below.
Cowboys and Aliens
Release: July 29, 2011
There is no better example of exploiting aliens than Jon Favreau's upcoming action flick. Starring Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Daniel Craig, Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano, Noah Ringer, and Clancy Brown, the film is based on a 2006 graphic novel where aliens land in Arizona. The year: 1873. Cowboys: plentiful. It sounds hella fun. I mean who wouldn't want to watch cowboys fighting aliens?
Release: October, 2010
This one has earned its release. Made on a shoestring budget of $400,000, the Monsters shows a world where aliens have landed in modern Mexico and a huge portion of the country has been quarantined and walled off while the military fights the creatures. We follow a photo journalist who hires a guide to travel through the infected zone in search of a girl. The film reminds me of The Mist and Cloverfield, but with a more intimate drama at its heart. Check out the trailer here.
Release: November 5, 2010
I have to be honest, this one doesn't look good. This computer animated comedy comes from DreamWorks. Playing off of the Superman origin story, we see Megamind (Will Ferrell) as a baby being ejected into space by his parents too, but he's thwarted by a baby Metro Man (Brad Pitt). When they both land on Earth, Metro becomes a superhero and Megamind becomes his villain, and almost always loses. Judging by the trailer, this is no How to Train Your Dragon, but I'll withhold final judgement until it hits theaters later this year.
Michael Bay "Confidential Alien Project"
If you thought you might be tired of Michael Bay blowing shit up, well, that's too bad. He's going to keep doing it for a long time. After Transformers 3 (which is about robot aliens) hits theaters in July 2011, Paramount has approved Bay's next alien movie, described as a mix of Cloverfield and Paranormal Activity with plenty of alien abductions. His Transformers crew is said to come along with him. Sounds explosive.
Battle: Los Angeles
Release: March 11, 2011
Aliens invade the streets of Los Angeles in this one. It's described as Black Hawk Down meets Independence Day meets Aliens. I love how the only way to describe these movies is by cobbling together other, probably better, movies. In any case, the first trailer was shown at Comic-Con and impressed some people. Aaron Eckhart and Michelle Rodriguez star. Like District 9, it's directed by a South African filmmaker (Jonathan Liebesman).
“I found a lot of the embedded footage you find of the Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan incredibly powerful,” said director Jonathan Liebesman, “and I thought that would just be a great way to tell an alien-invasion story.” - Wired
Release: November 12, 2010
Everyone wants to be the next District 9. This CGI-heavy screenshot looks like a cut from the ABC alien invasion show V, but it's actually more like Battle: Los Angeles because aliens invade Los Angeles in this movie too. The movie comes from two special effects experts, Greg and Colin Strause. There is no trailer yet, but here is a good description of the Comic-Con footage.
Release: May 25, 2012
Yes, it's based on the board game. And yes, popstar Rihanna has joined the cast, despite my warnings, along with Alexander Skarsgard and Taylor Kitsch. Peter Berg is set to direct this movie, which is based on Battleship the board game, but will have navy ships battling alien invaders. Don't believe me, listen to Berg.
"There's a group of life forms from some other planet have come to our planet for something. They've got a very specific agenda. That agenda is not global domination. It's an agenda and that agenda puts them into conflict with members of our military. Their technology is relatable. It's not incredibly far out and unbeatable. It's comprehensible. Hopefully it'll make for good fun and an intense ride."
Throwing aliens into Battleship is the movie you make when you don't know how to make a good Battleship movie. Somebody cut the funding for this.
Release: March 18, 2011
Two British comic-book geeks travel across the U.S. to get to Comic-Con and meet a real alien outside Area 51. I'm guessing his name is Paul. Sounds odd, but hey, it's a comedy written by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the dynamic duo behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Jason Bateman, Sigourney Weaver, Bill Hader, Jeffrey Tambor, Seth Rogen, and Kristen Wiig also star. Superbad director Greg Mottola is helming the picture.
I’m very, very excited about it. I think it’s a bigger film than probably Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz put together... We’re figuring [the logistics of the alien] out at the moment and having real fun, working closely with Double Negative who did Shaun and Hot Fuzz and Cloverfield and Hellboy II. We’re looking to really work to find the best way to do it and to create something which is utterly believable and sympathetic and has gravity and presence and is somebody that you totally buy. He’s the eponymous hero, so he has to be amazing. - io9
Yep, Ridley Scott is bringing a fifth Alien movie to market and this time it's a prequel (possibly a few prequels). As of today, reports that Lost writer Damon Lindelof is penning a rewrite of the film, which is said to be set 30 years before the original Weaver-ful Alien.
Very little is known about this secret project by J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg. Judging from the teaser trailer, it looks like extra terrestrials are involved. Hell, if Spielberg is involved, there has to be.
Oren Peli, who made the indie hit Paranormal Activity, is working on this one, which will use the Blair Witch handcam style to show "found footage" of three teens who enter Area 51. He's working with his Paranormal Activity team on a budget of $5 million. If that doesn't sound like much, consider that he made his last film for about $12,000.
Oh yes, it is coming. At Comic-Con last week, Producer Robert Rodriguez told IGN that a Predators sequel is in the works.
"[The studio] said, 'Let's do some other ones. What other story ideas do you have?'" says the filmmaker. "Because it was like, let's test out the market with this one. They really wanted it to be pretty contained, pretty scaled-back. They didn't want to put too many of the ideas into it that we could save for a second one. So we could see what the appetite was, because the bigger movie would actually be what comes following that. That kind of sets up a new storyline, new location and world, and then you can really go crazy from there." - Robert Rodriguez
The Darkest Hour
Release: August 5, 2011
This one follows a group of tourists (young tourists) who are stranded in Moscow, Russia after an alien attack. Emile Hirsch is the biggest star attached. The film is directed by Chris Gorak and has a pretty good script, from what I've read.
That's not the end, there are more...
If you thought these 13 movies were all the alien goodness Hollywood is preparing to bestow, think again.
- Avatar 2
- Cloverfield 2
- District 10
These are all in some stage of development and they're all full of aliens. And though I tried to be thorough, I have a sinking feeling that I've missed a film or two. Please point them out if I have.
What sparked this?
I'm really not sure, but it's been bubbling for a while. As I said earlier, Cloverfield, Avatar, and District 9 certainly kicked it into high gear, but 2008 and 2009 had a number of other alien movies like Race to Witch Mountain, Planet 51, Aliens in the Attic, and Outlander. Curiously, these films bombed, but only helped speed the trend.
TV is filling with aliens too. V, about an Independence Day scenario with sneaky nice aliens instead of laser blasting ones, is a hit on ABC. This fall, TNT will join the fun with Fallen Skies, which follows a group of human resistance fighters who try to strike back against alien invaders.
I never thought I'd tire of doomsday alien scenarios, but writing this article has worn me out. These films all sound eerily alike, with only small twists to set them apart. Once again Hollywood has mistaken the success of original movies like District 9 as a ruling that viewers want to see a ton of alien movies. What we really want is some original films, guys.
Update 10:25pm: Changed the top art to avoid confusion. There is no Independence Day sequel.