Alien: Covenant offers scares aplenty but very little substance

Its $35.1 million third weekend is close enough to Alien: Covenant that we could see a photo finish when weekend actuals come in. Let's get it out of the way now then: Alien: Covenant, with its four story and screenplay credits, does not have one of those. Take a look at our box office projections, and check back on Sunday for the weekend estimates for the weekend of May 19. When adjusted for inflation, the last Alien film, an oddly marketed 2012 prequel called Prometheus, only made half of what Alien did in the United States and Canada-the world's biggest box office-data from Box Office Mojo showed.

The weekend before Memorial Day sees one major wide release hoping to knock off Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, a young adult novel adaptation and the reboot of a surprisingly reliable kid lit franchise as May continues the feast or starvation year at the box office. The prequel "Prometheus" rebooted the franchise five years ago, ultimately collecting $403 million at the global box office. In any case, the superhero sequel is doing quite well for itself having crossed the $300 million mark domestically, with only a 46 percent drop between its second and third weeks in theaters; recent Marvel sequels Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Age of Ultron both saw drops of 54.7 percent and 50 percent in their third weeks. Its final domestic earnings also came in below earlier projections, which pegged the horror flick at least $40 million. Danny McBride, who most people expected to play the film's comic relief, offers up some of the film's most emotional moments and proves that he's capable of playing more refined characters.

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Which is why, despite the title, you shouldn't go into Alien: Covenant expecting an Alien movie. The film has already earned an estimated $1,221.8 million worldwide. "According to film opinion site Rotten Tomatoes", 79% of critics reviewed the film well, as did 64% of the audience. We know they are going for two completely different audiences, but one would think they would spread their properties throughout the summer rather than lump them in one weekend.

FOX also took fourth-place this weekend with "Snatched", which remained in 3,511 locations this week.

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". Looking ahead to next weekend, Paramount debuts its R-rated remake Baywatch on Thursday, May 25, with Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales arriving a day later on Friday, May 26, for a Memorial Day weekend box office showdown.

  • Michelle Webb