- "The bitch is back."
- ―Alien3 tagline
Alien 3, stylized as Alien3, is a 1992 science fiction thriller film directed by David Fincher and starring Sigourney Weaver, Charles Dance, Charles S. Dutton, Lance Henriksen, Paul McGann, Brian Glover, Ralph Brown and Danny Webb. A sequel to the 1986 film Aliens, the story has an escape pod from the Colonial Marine starship Sulaco crash-landing on a refinery/prison planet, killing everyone on board except Lieutenant Ellen Ripley. Soon after her arrival, an Alien is born in the prison and goes on a rampage, while Ripley later discovers there is also an Alien growing inside her.
Alien3 had a notoriously difficult production. Multiple screenwriters and directors were involved in the film's development, while shooting eventually started at Pinewood Studios without a finished script. David Fincher was brought into the project very late in its production, after a proposed version written and directed by Vincent Ward fell through; the film was Fincher's debut in big budget movie-making. At the relatively young age of 27, he had little time to prepare and was subjected to incessant creative interference from the studio throughout the filming and editing process, and he eventually walked out of the production altogether. Subsequently, the studio dismantled and reworked the film without Fincher's consent. The experience of making Alien3 proved agonizing for Fincher, and he has subsequently disowned and distanced himself from the film.
The movie was released to mixed reviews, and was generally regarded as inferior to the two installments that preceded it. It under-performed financially at the United States box office, although it went on to earn over $100 million outside of North America and was considered a financial success; some have since expressed the opinion that European audiences in particular were more receptive to the film's bleak, nihilistic tone, which Americans found off-putting. In the years since its release, opinion on the film has improved noticeably, particularly with regards to the extended Special Edition released in 2003, and it has gone on to gain a strong cult following. It was followed by a further sequel, Alien Resurrection (1997).
- 1 Plot
- 2 Cast
- 3 Development
- 4 Writing
- 5 Filming
- 6 Special Effects
- 7 Music
- 8 Editing
- 9 Deleted Scenes
- 10 Release and Reception
- 11 Special Edition
- 12 Merchandising
- 13 Interpretation and Analysis
- 14 Trivia
- 15 Goofs
- 16 Gallery
- 17 See Also
- 18 References
- 19 Navigation
Following events on LV-426, the Colonial Marine starship USS Sulaco is on its way back to Earth. However, a stowaway Facehugger triggers a fire on board, leading the ship to eject the slumbering Ripley, Newt, Corporal Hicks and the damaged android Bishop in an escape pod. The pod crash-lands on Fiorina "Fury" 161, a barren world home to a foundry facility and penal colony inhabited by all-male inmates. The prisoners recover the pod, although the prison dog is attacked by a Facehugger hiding in the wreckage.
Ripley is taken to the infirmary and tended to by Clemens, the prison's doctor. When she wakes, she is horrified to learn she is the only survivor of the crash. She immediately suspects a Xenomorph may have played a part in her arrival on Fiorina 161 and requests Clemens perform an autopsy on Newt, fearing the little girl is carrying a Chestburster. Her concerns prove unfounded and Clemens confirms Newt simply drowned in the crash. Nevertheless, Ripley insists the bodies are cremated. Despite resistance from the prison warden, Superintendent Andrews, the funeral goes ahead when Clemens covers for Ripley and claims there is a risk of communicable disease. During the service, unknown to the prison's inhabitants, a Xenomorph bursts from the prison dog.
The creature soon begins a killing spree, picking off several isolated prisoners. One such attack is witnessed by the unstable inmate Golic. However, Andrews dismisses his traumatized claims that a "dragon" was responsible and instead lays blame on Golic, a convicted serial killer. Seeking confirmation of her fears, Ripley recovers and reactivates the remains of Bishop. He verifies that there was a Xenomorph on the Sulaco and that it came with them to Fiorina in the escape pod. Ripley takes this information to Andrews, insisting they have to hunt the creature down. He reveals that the facility has no weapons before rejecting her story, instead blaming the recent deaths on unrest amongst the inmates caused by her arrival, the first woman any of them have seen in years. He informs Ripley that a rescue ship is already on its way to recover her, sent by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation.
In the prison infirmary, Clemens is killed by the Xenomorph in front of Ripley, which then mysteriously spares her. She runs to inform the others, only to witness the creature emerge from a vent overhead and drag Andrews away. With the Superintendent's subordinate Aaron proving ineffectual at leading the survivors, Ripley rallies the inmates and proposes they use highly flammable toxic chemicals stored at the facility to spark a fire and drive the Xenomorph into an unused nuclear waste storage tank. The prisoners reluctantly agree to the plan, but the mixture is ignited prematurely when the creature attacks. Several inmates are killed in the resultant explosion and fire, while the Xenomorph escapes.
Suffering from pain in her chest and fearing internal injuries, Ripley scans herself with medical equipment aboard the Sulaco's escape pod and discovers she is carrying the embryo of a Xenomorph Queen. Dejected, she goes to find the Xenomorph running lose in the prison, hoping it will kill her, but once again the creature refrains, sensing its future within her. Ripley next asks Dillon, the religious leader of the inmates, to end her life; he agrees to do so only if she helps them kill the adult creature first. They form a desperate plan for the survivors to use themselves as bait to lure the Xenomorph into the prison's foundry, where it can be drowned in molten lead. Aaron refuses to take part, placing his faith in the Weyland-Yutani rescue team, but Dillon rouses the remaining inmates.
Most of the prisoners are killed during the chaotic chase. Ripley and Dillon manage to lure the creature into the mould, at which point Dillon sacrifices himself to ensure the plan's success. Surviving prisoner Morse pours the lead as Ripley escapes, apparently killing the Xenomorph. However, it leaps from the molten metal and goes after Ripley. She activates the overhead fire sprinklers, causing the creature's exoskeleton to shatter from thermal shock, finally destroying it.
The Weyland-Yutani team is met by Aaron, who leads them to the foundry. The team's leader, a man who looks identical to the Bishop android, implores Ripley to come with them, promising to have the embryo inside her removed and destroyed. Seeing through his platitudes and realizing the company is only interested in the creature, Ripley refuses. Aaron is killed when he attacks the company man, while Ripley throws herself to her death in the facility's gigantic furnace just as the Queen erupts from her chest. As she dies, Ripley grabs the creature and holds it to her to ensure it enters the fire.
In the aftermath, the prison facility is closed down and the sole surviving inmate, Morse, is taken away. On board the Sulaco's escape pod, Ripley's closing distress call from the original Alien plays one final time.
- Ripley .... Sigourney Weaver
- Dillon .... Charles S. Dutton
- Clemens .... Charles Dance
- Golic .... Paul McGann
- Andrews .... Brian Glover
- Aaron .... Ralph Brown
- Morse .... Danny Webb
- Rains .... Christopher John Fields
- Junior .... Holt McCallany
- Bishop II .... Lance Henriksen
- Murphy .... Chris Fairbank
- Frank .... Carl Chase
After the huge success of Aliens, Brandywine Productions were soon approached by 20th Century Fox to create another sequel in the Alien franchise. While producers David Giler and Walter Hill were initially unenthusiastic, they began developing ideas. Early concepts included the Xenomorphs invading Earth, where they would fuse into a giant creature that destroys New York City; the idea of a massive gestalt Xenomorph entity later resurfaced in one of the scripts written for the third film, by Eric Red. Another early idea was to follow Ripley and Newt as they hunted an especially mobile Xenomorph creature in a Blade Runner-like metropolis.
Eventually, Giler and Hill settled on the idea of a concluding entry in the form of two movies that would provide a definitive end to the saga. The story was to revolve around "the underhanded Weyland-Yutani Corporation facing off with a militarily aggressive culture of humans whose rigid socialist ideology has caused them to separate from Earth's society". Sigourney Weaver would only make a cameo appearance in the third film, with the lead role going to Michael Biehn's Corporal Hicks from Aliens. Alien 4 would see the return of Ripley "in an epic battle with Alien Warriors mass produced by the expatriated Earthlings". Weaver in particular liked the Cold War metaphor and agreed to the smaller role.
- "I felt that Ripley was going to become a burden to the story. There are only so many aspects to that character you can do."
- ―Sigourney Weaver on her reduced role
Weaver also agreed to being removed because she did not like the changes the studio made to Aliens to reduce its run time, which included the removal of scenes regarding Ripley's daughter that she considered crucial to her character's development (these scenes were later reinstated in the extended Special Edition).
Although 20th Century Fox was skeptical about the idea, they agreed to finance the development of the story, but asked that Hill and Giler attempt to get Ridley Scott to direct Alien 3. They also asked that the two films be shot back to back to lessen the production costs. However this proved to be difficult as Scott, though interested, was busy working on three films at the time. Horror director Clive Barker was also approached to write and direct the film, but he turned the project down as he found the Alien "uninteresting". In September 1987, Giler and Hill approached cyberpunk author William Gibson to write the script for the third film. Gibson, who was influenced by Alien, agreed. He initially wished to pursue the Blade Runner-type story, but was told by producers such an ambitious film would be prohibitively expensive.
- Main article: Alien III (William Gibson)
Gibson turned in the first script treatment for a third Alien film in 1987. At the time of his involvement, Sigourney Weaver "seemed doggedly unwilling to participate" in any potential sequel and as a result Ripley was largely written out of the story. Instead, the main narrative focus became Hicks and Bishop, alongside an extended cast with many new characters. Gibson's effort is arguably the most well-known of the unproduced Alien3 scripts, as it has been available online for many years, although the version on the internet is, according to Gibson, "about thirty pages shorter than the version I turned in. It became the first of some thirty drafts, by a great many screenwriters, and none of mine was used (except for the idea, perhaps, of a bar-code tattoo)."
The story is set aboard a large space station called Anchorpoint, where Weyland-Yutani begins experimentation on Xenomorph material recovered from Bishop's remains aboard the Sulaco. The script also features a distinct Cold War element, with the rival "Union of Progressive Peoples" (analogous to the Soviet Union) running their own Xenomorph experiments after boarding the Sulaco before its arrival at Anchorpoint and recovering genetic material of their own. Eventually both Anchorpoint and the U.P.P space station are overrun by Xenomorphs and Hicks and Bishop must team up with the survivors to destroy the creatures.
The script ends with a cliffhanger for Alien 4 in which Xenomorph genetic material is headed for Earth aboard the Sulaco. Bishop suggests to Hicks that humans are united against a common enemy and they must track the Xenomorphs to their source and destroy them. The screenplay is very action oriented, containing eight Colonial Marine vs. Alien battle scenes, including a major confrontation set on the exterior hull of the space station; by comparison, James Cameron's script for Aliens contained only two Marine vs. Alien battles. A second draft by Gibson removed most of this action and instead presented a story closer to the claustrophobic horror of Alien.
Since the first draft's release online, it has attained a considerable following on the internet. However, at the time, the producers, while liking certain aspects of the script, were unhappy with the screenplay overall. Gibson was asked to make rewrites with their newly hired director, Renny Harlin, but declined, citing various other commitments and "foot dragging on the producers' part." It was at this point that Giler and Hill abandoned their plans to produce two Alien sequels, and focused on making a single film. Gibson's unproduced script has since been adapted as both a comic book and an audio drama.
- Main article: Alien III (Eric Red)
The next draft of Alien3 was written in 1989 by Eric Red, writer of the cult horror films The Hitcher (1986) and Near Dark (1987). Red's script had little to do with the previous entries in the series; all of the survivors from Aliens fall victim to the Xenomorphs before the story starts, the only direct link to the preceding films being a bloodied nametag bearing the name "Ripley" that is found aboard the Sulaco in the opening scene.
The script is set aboard a space station that houses an entire small-town USA settlement, including open wheat fields, farms and a small town, all housed under a giant dome. Beneath the town, the rest of the station consists mostly of a high-tech research facility, where military scientists are secretly breeding and studying the Xenomorphs. The creatures soon escape and wreak havoc, and with most of the military and science personnel killed in the initial outbreak it is left to the townsfolk to fight off the creatures. At the end of the story, the station itself becomes "infected" by the Xenomorphs and turns into a giant biomechanical Xenomorph creature.
Whereas several of the unproduced Alien3 scripts (specifically Gibson's and Vincent Ward's) have received substantial praise in recent years, Red's effort has something of an infamous reputation for it's poor quality. Indeed, after being shown Red's screenplay, then-director Renny Harlin walked out on the project, and Red was fired shortly afterwards. Red himself later disowned the widely circulated version of the script, claiming, "The piece of junk was a product of a few weeks of intense, hysterical story conferences with the studio to rush to get the picture into production and it turned out completely awful..."
- Main article: Alien III (David Twohy)
Writer (and future director) David Twohy was next to work on the project. His version is even further removed from the preceding films than Red's script — the story is set many years after Aliens, and the only reference to the first two movies is an image of Ripley seen on a computer monitor half-way through, with the word "DECEASED" written beneath it — although Twohy allegedly also turned in an alternate draft that featured the Ripley character more prominently.
Twohy's story is set on a prison space station in Earth orbit called Moloch Island, where inmates act as manual labor in a giant refinery that smelts ore mined in space. The prison is also secretly being used by Weyland-Yutani to breed and run illegal experiments on the Xenomorphs, many of which involve the use of convicts as live bait. To keep the experiments secret from the prison population, only death row inmates are used, their executions faked in a gas chamber before they are revived and used in the tests. Examples include breach testing, where a Xenomorph is videotaped as it searches for — and finds — the weakest part of a structure with human bait inside, breaks through and attacks the victim. An accident at the station frees the Xenomorphs, and the surviving prisoners and staff must team up to try and escape.
Vincent Ward was hired to direct the film, although he promptly told the studio he was not interested in filming Twohy's script and instead wanted to pursue his own idea for a third movie. Ward was given the go-ahead to develop this idea, even though the studio still had Twohy performing rewrites of his own script, telling him that Ward's screenplay was in fact for a fourth movie in the franchise. When Twohy learned of Fox's duplicity, he quit and his draft was put aside.
Vincent Ward and John Fasano
- Main article: Alien III (Vincent Ward)
The 1990 story for Alien III by Ward and John Fasano has Ripley's escape pod crash landing on a monastery-like space station, which is archaic in design and largely constructed from wood. This unusual satellite, called Arceon (not to be confused with Acheron), is a place of refuge for a group of all-male Luddite-like monks, who have rejected modern technology.
The story begins with one of the monks witnessing a "star in the East" (in fact Ripley's escape pod approaching the station), which his brothers at first believe to be a good sign. However, upon the arrival of Ripley, and with increasing suggestions of Xenomorph presence, the monks instead come to view the omen as the herald of some sort of divine trial for their misdemeanors, for which they are being punished by the creature that haunts them. By having a woman in their monastery, the monks wonder if their trial is partially caused by sexual temptation, as Ripley is the only woman to be amongst the community in many years. To avoid this temptation and (hopefully) the much grimmer reality of what she has brought with her, the monks lock Ripley into a dungeon in the lower levels of the space station and ignore her advice on the true nature of the beast. However, one of the monks soon comes to believe Ripley and frees her, and together they attempt to escape Arceon.
Ward's is by far the most famous of the unproduced screenplays for Alien3 and has received significant attention for its setting in particular. Former London Times journalist David Hughes included Ward's version of Alien III amongst "the greatest sci-fi movies never made" in his book of the same title. A significant portion of the Alien3 making-of documentary Wreckage and Rage is dedicated to Ward's screenplay. The project progressed to the point where several sets to be used in the film were designed, although little was actually built. However — contrary to the promise of full creative control they had originally made the director — 20th Century Fox began attempting to curtail Ward's ideas, hiring writers Greg Pruss and Larry Ferguson to rewrite his script. Ward quit the production as a result. His replacement, David Fincher, had little interest in developing Ward's script, although the characters and plot it contained were ultimately adapted into the finished film.
Walter Hill and David Giler
Short on time before filming was due to commence, producers Walter Hill and David Giler took control of the screenplay themselves, melding aspects of the Ward script with Twohy's earlier prison-set screenplay to create the basis of the final film. Even so, the script underwent numerous late revisions even as filming was taking place. David Fincher also did further work on the screenplay with author Rex Pickett, the latter of whom revised most of the work done by the previous authors despite eventually being fired, allegedly for siding with Fincher over Hill and Giler on where the script should be going. With the script situation becoming increasingly chaotic, Hill and Giler wrote the final draft of the screenplay. By the time the film was released, Fox had spent $13 million on the writing of the film, with no less than ten different writers contributing to the project.
Like Aliens before it, Alien3 was primarily shot at Pinewood Studios, near London. Principal photography began on January 14, 1991, despite the fact the film did not yet have a finished script and with Fox having already spent millions on the construction of sets.
The production was infamously fraught, with Fincher frequently clashing with 20th Century Fox over the direction the film should be taking. Studio interference was extreme — the director's ideas for the production were routinely vetoed by executives who merely wanted to turn out a film on time and under budget, and representatives from Fox could frequently be seen shadowing Fincher on-set, ensuring the studio's demands were enforced. Several members of the film's cast observed that the studio appeared to have hired Fincher on the assumption that he was "a pop video promo director that they could push around", and when this ultimately proved not to be the case, the atmosphere became increasingly hostile.
- "There seemed to be these characters moving around, particularly when Fincher was there, moving around in unison watching him or watching us. Any of the shenanigans, any of the machinations behind the scenes tend to be kept from the actors but we tended to be well aware of the atmosphere and that the changes were coming down from on high."
- ―Actor Paul McGann on the presence of personnel from Fox on set
One particular argument over the nature and direction of Ralph Brown's character caused producer David Giler to walk out of the production and never return, while a row over the telephone between Fincher and executives in Los Angeles led the director to physically attack his desk with a knife in frustration. Following Giler's departure, then-senior vice president of Fox Jon Landau was assigned to the production to take charge of the situation; in the opinion of executive producer Ezra Swerdlow, Landau was specifically tasked with breaking Fincher and bringing him to heel.
In addition to his constant battles with the studio, Fincher had to deal with a script that continued to change even as filming was taking place; according to the director, rewritten pages would arrive at the studio via fax machine to be filmed the following day, a scenario he labelled "just insane". Those involved in the production recall scenes being filmed one day, only for the crew to learn they had already been dropped from the movie the next. Some changes came from the director himself — for instance, it was originally planned for the film's Alien to gestate inside an ox, but Fincher later elected to make the host a Rottweiler, despite the fact much time and effort had already been expended on filming the ox birth sequence. Sets were found to be under construction even though the scenes for which they were intended were no longer in the shooting schedule; in some cases, the film's plot was tweaked to allow expensive sets built for earlier iterations of the story to be used in filming.
Other problems during filming included the departure of original director of photography Jordan Cronenweth due to his increasingly severe Parkinson's disease, and Fincher's more distant relationship with his replacement, Alex Thomson. The director also struggled to find a suitable second unit director, firing several whose work he deemed substandard. The general consensus from cast and crew involved in the production was that the shoot was confused, chaotic, poorly-managed and hostile.
Despite the difficulties at Pinewood, the shoot was recorded by a documentary film crew led by Paul Bernard, who conducted extensive interviews with the cast and key production personnel and captured behind the scenes footage of filming taking place. Ridley Scott was also invited to take part in an interview, filmed on the set of Superintendent Andrews' office. The material shot by Bernard's team was later used to create the promotional piece The Making of Alien3 and has subsequently been included in other documentaries about the making of the film.
Eventually, the situation at Pinewood became so untenable that filming was shut down completely, and production moved to Fox Studios in Los Angeles. During the break in filming, the producers had Fincher and editor Terry Rawlings travel to L.A. and assemble a rough cut of the existing footage, in order to determine what was needed to complete a coherent movie. Rawlings later lamented the agonizing process of meeting with executives to inform them what was needed, being granted permission to shoot only some of the requisite material, then entering another meeting after said footage had been filmed only for the executives to realise the additional scenes they had earlier vetoed were in fact necessary after all. Partly as a result of this protracted process, the planned brief period of reshoots in Los Angeles extended to six weeks of additional filming, while editing took almost a year in total.
Among the material shot in Los Angeles were changes to the film's ending. However, Sigourney Weaver had in her contract a clause that stated, should she have to shave her head again after principal photography wrapped, she would receive an automatic $40,000 bonus. Rather than pay her, Fox instead elected to spend $16,000 on a fake bald cap to cover the actress' hair. The cap took eight days of meticulous crafting to produce and was incredibly difficult to apply convincingly. A month after the additional shots were completed, an incredulous makeup department were informed that yet more changes were being made to the movie's conclusion; fortunately, the bald cap had not been thrown away in the interim.
Stan Winston, responsible for creature effects in Aliens, was approached again for Alien3, but was unavailable. Winston instead recommended Tom Woodruff, Jr. and Alec Gillis, two former employees at his studio who had just started their own effects company, Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc..
The Xenomorph in the film was portrayed by both Woodruff, Jr. in a suit and a rod puppet filmed against bluescreen and optically composited into the live-action footage. Contrary to popular belief, the quadrupedal Alien was not portrayed through CGI, with the exception of a single shot of the creature's head cracking before it explodes. Other CGI elements in the film include shadows cast by the rod puppet Xenomorph, and airborne debris in outdoor scenes. For the first time, certain shots were filmed from the Alien's point of view, and a fisheye lens was used to illustrate this.
A mechanical Xenomorph head was also used for close-ups of the creature. The suit worn by Woodruff, Jr. adapted the design used in Aliens so that he could walk on all fours. Woodruff's head was contained in the neck of the suit, because the head was filled with the animatronics needed to move the mouth and inner jaw.
Director David Fincher suggested that a Whippet (a breed of small dog) be dressed in a Xenomorph costume for on-set coverage of the quadrupedal creature, but the visual effects team was dissatisfied with the comical result and the idea was dropped in favor of the rod puppet.
- See: Alien 3 (soundtrack)
At some point during the film's chaotic reshoots and post-production in Los Angeles, David Fincher finally walked out. The completion of the movie was thus overseen by the studio, who elected to drastically edit the film down to increase the number of times it could be screened per day. Most notably, a sequence in which the prisoners succeed in trapping the titular Alien was removed, with Landau expressing the opinion that it made the Alien appear weak; the change was made so late that the original version appears in almost all of the film's related media, including the novelization, the comic adaptation and even the film's trading card set. The film's ending scene was still being edited just three weeks before the movie was due to be released in the United States. Several members of the cast and crew were later highly critical of the drastic cuts made to the picture in post-production. Much of the removed material was subsequently reinstated in the film's extended Special Edition.
Release and Reception
Alien3 was released in the United States on May 22, 1992. The film debuted at number two of the box office, behind Lethal Weapon 3, with a Memorial Day weekend gross of $23.1 million. It screened in 2,227 theaters, for an average gross of $8,733 per theater. The film was considered a flop in North America with a total of $55.4 million, although it did far better elsewhere, particularly in Europe, grossing a total of $104.3 million internationally for a total of $159.7 million. As producer David Giler later said, "It ended up doing as well as the rest of [the Alien films], but it did it in different places." It is the second highest earning Alien film, excluding the effect of inflation, and had the 28th highest domestic gross in 1992.
In its initial release, the film recieved mixed reviews from critics, generally being unfavorably compared to the preceding two films in the franchise. A number of cast and crew associated with the series, including actor Michael Biehn, previous director James Cameron and novelist Alan Dean Foster, expressed their frustration and disappointment with the film's story. Cameron, in particular, regarded the decision to kill off the characters of Bishop, Newt, and Hicks "a slap in the face" to him and to fans of the previous film. Biehn, upon learning of Corporal Hicks' demise, demanded and received almost as much money for the use of his photograph in one scene as he had been paid for his role in the entire film Aliens. Foster, the writer of the novelizations of the first three Alien films, called the death of Newt and Hicks "an obscenity".
However, several members of Alien3's cast and crew, including actors Charles Dance and Ralph Brown and editor Terry Rawlings, as well as would-be director Vincent Ward, have defended the movie and in particular its director, suggesting that many of the film's problems were caused by the excessive studio interference, Fox's over-reliance on dubious test screenings and the resulting post-production alterations that were made. According to Dance, the film was "a fantastic piece of work. And then the committee put their fingers in". Ward later stated, "I sort of took my hat off to David Fincher because I thought, 'You know what? You've entered something at a ridiculous stage and that you've made anything even faintly coherent, you know, well done.'"
- "It still could've all worked had Fox held their nerve and not screened it to a bunch of brain-dead teenagers in Southern California, and then actually followed their comments of, 'There's too many bald English guys in it!' and all this kind of nonsense."
- ―Ralph Brown on the post-production process.
In recent years, Alien3 has found a more positive reception among critics and Alien fans. While still generally regarded as inferior to the first two films in the series, it has built up a reputation as a cult classic among certain audiences. The extended Special Edition, first released as part of the Alien Quadrilogy DVD box set in 2003, has received highly positive reviews, and has a rating of 86% — significantly higher than the theatrical version of the film — on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Visual Effects were nominated for an Academy Award, losing to Death Becomes Her. The film was also nominated for seven Saturn Awards and a Hugo Award.
Home video releases
Following its theatrical run, the film was released on both VHS and LaserDisc formats. In the UK, a limited edition Alien Trilogy VHS box set was released in 1993, containing Alien, the extended Special Edition of Aliens and Alien3, housed inside a special Facehugger-shaped case; this set included a bonus VHS tape containing the documentary The Making of Alien3.
On December 2, 2003, Alien3 was released as part of the Alien Quadrilogy DVD box set, which featured both the theatrical release and a new alternate cut of each of the four films in the series, along with a host of bonus features. The Special Edition of the film was specially created for the set, although notably Fincher declined to be involved in its creation, being the only director from the series to so refuse. The alternate cut was instead put together by set producer Charles de Lauzirika. Other newly created material in the Quadrilogy release included a commentary track featuring the film's actors and production staff, and a feature-length documentary entitled The Making of Alien3 (not to be confused with the earlier documentary of the same name). Despite overall reaction to the Quadrilogy set being highly positive, there was some criticism directed at the Alien3 bonus disc, mostly centered on the fact 20th Century Fox had censored the making-of documentary, removing a significant amount of footage in which Fincher and others discuss the studio's interference and the generally fraught, chaotic nature of the shoot.
In 2010 both the theatrical version and Special Edition of Alien3 were released on Blu-ray Disc as part of the Alien Anthology set, which also included a restored version of the documentary from the Quadrilogy box set, now titled Wreckage and Rage: Making Alien3 and including all of the previously censored footage.
A novelization of the film was authored by Alan Dean Foster, who had previously written the novel adaptations of both Alien and Aliens. His adaptation includes many scenes that were cut from the final film, some of which later reappeared in the Special Edition. Notably, an abridged audiobook version read by actor Lance Henriksen was also produced.
Dark Horse Comics released a three-issue comic book adaptation of the film, while their Dark Horse International branch in the United Kingdom also published a three-issue magazine entitled Alien3 Movie Special, featuring the comic adaptation along with a host of articles on the production. A set of trading cards based on the film were produced by Star Pics. Elliot Goldenthal's soundtrack was also released as an album. Peartree Associates produced an exclusive leather jacket based on the one worn by Weaver in the film, with patches recalling each of the three films that then comprised the Alien series.
Numerous officially licensed video games based on the film were produced. The first was developed by Probe Software and published in 1992 by Arena Entertainment, Virgin Games and LJN for multiple formats, including the SEGA Master System, SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive, Commodore 64, Amiga and Nintendo Entertainment System. Rather than being a faithful adaptation of the film, it took the form of a basic platform action game where the player controlled Ripley using the weapons from the film Aliens in a green-dark ambient environment. The following year, a Game Boy game was released, developed by B.I.T.S. studios, although it differed from the console game, being a top-down adventure game. A third game based on the film, again a side-scrolling action game, was also released on the Nintendo Entertainment System, while a more ambitious SNES version was also produced. SEGA developed an arcade shooter loosely based on the film's events, titled Alien3: The Gun.
Interpretation and Analysis
Academics analyzing the role of the Ripley character remark on the symbolism of the Sulaco's cryo chamber. Ripley is compared with an incorrupt Catholic saint preserved in a glass coffin (akin to Saint Bernadette of Lourdes, both in her lying in state in the cryotube as well as her incorrupt body, which has twice survived being almost "impregnated" by the Alien). Accompanied by the Agnus Dei of the Ordinary Mass playing in the background of the opening scene, these scholars argue that the Sulaco is transformed "into a holy site where the iconic bodies of a fetishistic religion lie in state," setting the scene for a lone Facehugger attacking its victim (corrupting it) and also causing the emergency system to eject the cryotubes into space and to plunge to Fiorina "Fury" 161 (representing the Fall of Man).
- The film was nicknamed "Skinheads in Space" by its British crew, due to its predominantly bald cast. Many of the actors were hesitant about shaving their heads for the film, but when they learned that Sigourney Weaver would be doing the same, they unanimously agreed.
- The decision to kill Ripley was partly influenced by Weaver, who wanted to move away from the series by giving the character a definitive end. Of course, she later relented and agreed to star in Alien Resurrection.
- After the film's release, Weaver commented on her apparent exit from the franchise, joking that "they'd probably find a way to resurrect Ripley using the DNA in her fingernails". In doing so, she'd unintentionally foreshadowed the basic scenario of Alien Resurrection, made five years later.
- Several of the sound effects in the movie incorporate incredibly low tones, and for early screenings specialized, very large bass speakers were installed in theaters to accentuate these sounds. However, the speakers were removed when the low rumblings actually caused vibrations that forced some elderly viewers to leave for the bathroom during the film.
- Many of the cast members playing the prisoners in the film enjoyed intimidating people they would meet when off set with their shaven heads.
- Two of the actors in the movie, Brian Glover (Andrews) and Paul McGann (Golic), featured in the long-running British sci-fi series Doctor Who. Glover played Griffiths in the 1985 serial Attack of the Cybermen, while McGann played the title character in a 1996 TV movie.
- The 2013 video game spin-off Aliens: Colonial Marines/Stasis Interrupted would later reveal that Dwayne Hicks was not actually killed on Fiorina 161, and that the body that was cremated was a civilian named Turk, who was accidentally trapped inside Hicks' cryotube by Weyland-Yutani PMCs before the EEV separated from the Sulaco. Furthermore, it was revealed that Hicks actually arrived on the planet in time to witness Ripley's death, but too late to prevent it.
- Alien3 is the only film in the Alien franchise not to prominently include some kind of flamethrower, although the prisoners still use fire as a weapon against the Xenomorph.
- Alien3 is also the only film out of the entire Alien, Predator and Alien vs. Predator franchise where a pistol-like weapon doesn't appear (although in the theatrical version of Alien, the laser pistols carried by the crew are never clearly shown).
- In the scene where Clemens meets with Andrews, they both drink from a tea set made by Bodum called "Le Pot", which was made famous by the fictional Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- See: Alien 3 goofs
- Alien3 (novel) — The novelization of the film by Alan Dean Foster.
- Alien3 (comic) — The comic book adaptation of the film by Dark Horse Comics.
- Alien3 (soundtrack) — The soundtrack to the film by Elliot Goldenthal.
- Alien3 (1992 video game) — The first of four video games based on the film.
- Alien3 (1993 Game Boy game) — The second video game based on the film.
- Alien3 (1993 NES game) — The third video game based on the film.
- Alien3 (1993 SNES game) — The fourth video game based on the film.
- The Making of Alien3 — A promotional documentary about the making of the film, shot during production.
- Wreckage and Rage: Making Alien3 — An extensive documentary about the making of the film.
- Vincent Ward, David Giler, Ezra Swerdlow, Sigourney Weaver, Paul McGann, Alec Gillis. Wreckage and Rage: Making Alien3 (2010), 20th Century Fox [Blu-ray].
- Dave Hughes, Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. Aliens, Vol. 2 #9, p. 17 (1993), Dark Horse International.
- "Strange Shapes - Cold Wars: William Gibson's Alien III". Retrieved on 2013-12-19.
- "Bald Ambition". Cinescape. November 1997.
- "Last in Space". Entertainment Weekly (1992-05-29). Retrieved on 2008-10-12.
- Dave Hughes, Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. Aliens, Vol. 2 #8, p. 23 (1993), Dark Horse International.
- "William Gibson talks about the script". WilliamGibsonBooks.com. Retrieved on 2006-12-18.
- "Strange Shapes - Animal Farm: Eric Red's Alien III". Retrieved on 2014-01-28.
- Dave Hughes, Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. Aliens, Vol. 2 #1, p. 24 (1992), Dark Horse International.
- "Strange Shapes - Wooden World: Vincent Ward's Alien III". Retrieved on 2014-01-28.
- Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Greatest-Sci-Fi-Movies-Never-Made/dp/1556524498/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1256890375&sr=8-1
- Jody Duncan. The Winston Effect: The Art and History of Stan Winston Studio, p. 189 (2006), Titan Books.
- Dave Hughes, Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. Aliens, Vol. 2 #1, p. 25 (1992), Dark Horse International.
- John Hurt, Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett, David Giler, Sigourney Weaver. The Alien Saga (2002), Prometheus Entertainment [DVD].
- Mark Kermode, Ridley Scott, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett, Sigourney Weaver. Alien Evolution (2001), Nobles Gate Scotland [DVD].
- Paul McGann, Alex Thomson, Richard Edlund, Alec Gillis, Terry Rawlings. Alien3 audio commentary (2003), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
- Dave Hughes, Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. Alien3 Movie Special #1, p. 41 (1992), Dark Horse International.
- Percy Rodrigues, Sigourney Weaver, Charles S. Dutton, Lance Henriksen, Richard Edlund. The Making of Alien3 (1992), Extended Wings [VHS].
- "Tom Woodruff, Jr. interview". Icons of Fright.com (2007).
- Paul Taglianetti, Geoff Topping, Bob Gould. Sci-Fi & Fantasy FX #48, p. 17 (2000), Next Millennium Publishing.
- "Interview: Amalgamated Dynamics' Tom Woodruff, Jr.". Shock Till You Drop (April 14, 2008).
- Dave Hughes, Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. Alien3 Movie Special #1, p. 3 (1992), Dark Horse International.
- "Alien 3". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2008-02-07.
- Hochman, David (1997-12-05). "Beauties and the Beast". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2008-10-12.
- "1992 Domestic Gross". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2008-02-06.
- "Rotten Tomatoes - Alien 3". Retrieved on 2011-07-19.
- "IMDB - Alien 3 User Ratings". Retrieved on 2014-10-15.
- "Rotten Tomatoes - Alien 3 (Special Edition)". Retrieved on 2014-10-15.
- IMDB awards
- "DVD Verdict Review - Alien3: Collector's Edition". Retrieved on December 16, 2009.
- "Criticism of Bonus Disc". The Digital Bits. Retrieved on 2006-12-15.
- Dave Hughes, Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. Aliens, Vol. 2 #9, p. 29 (1993), Dark Horse International.
- Alien Woman: The Making of Lt. Ellen Ripley - Ximena Gallardo C. & Smith, C. Jason; Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004, Page 122-123
- Dave Hughes, Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. Alien3 Movie Special #1, p. 2 (1992), Dark Horse International.
- Dave Hughes, Michael Matessino, David C. Fein, James Cameron. Alien Trilogy booklet, p. 24 (1992), 20th Century Fox.
- Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Sylvain Despretz, Darius Khondji, Pitof, Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff, Jr.. One Step Beyond: Making Alien Resurrection (2003), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
- Mark Salisbury. Alien: The Archive, p. 10 (2014), Titan Books.
- Paul McGann, Danny Webb, Paul Lasaine. Intimidating Baldies (2010), 20th Century Fox [Blu-ray].