Alien Resurrection: Reviving the Alien franchise

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a) In the aftermath of Alien 3
The audience's displeasure with Alien 3 was reflected in the box office; the film grossed little more than $53 million in North America and $159.7 million worldwide - less than Aliens' take when adjusted for inflation, and so after Alien 3, there was no rush to make another Alien movie to the extent that they weren't even thinking about it

b) Saralegui's relationship with Alien
Before he went into the film business, Jorge Saralegui recalled strangely had seen only one movie, Alien, which he loved. Before Fox, Saralegui published three novels, then worked for a brief stint as a story analyst for IndieProd Co.

He joined Fox in 1989 as a reader and was upped to creative exec and then director of production before being named Vice President of production in 1993. and it came as a bit of a surprise to him that he was working at Fox on an Alien movie

By the time he began to over see the producton of Alien Resurrection, Saralegui had the title of Executive Vice President of Fox which probably didn't have a precise definiton but he had shepherded films such as “Speed,” “Independence Day,” “Broken Arrow” and “Die Hard With a Vengeance.”.

c) Thoughts about resurrecting Newt
All of this left Jorge Saralegui wondering if the audience would by an Alien movie without its leading lady.

But Weaver had wanted Ripley killed off and as far as he could see had very little interest in returning to the franchise, so Saralegui decided to bring back Newt, the little girl that Ripley saved instead.

Although Newt died at the beginning of Alien 3, Saralegui's idea was that she would be cloned because of the survival skills she demonstrated in Aliens, and would be used by Ripley's former employer to track down the alien for their own research.

The cloned Newt, in effect, would become a Buffy-like character - a young girl embued with special skills and strengths to take out a particular enemy. 


 Source Quotes
  1. Joss's frustation with Waterworld soon faded as he received the chance of a lifetime. He was asked to write the script for Alien 4, an opportunity he had dreamed about since he first saw Alien  when he was fourteen. But once again, what should have been a happy experience became a nightmare and almost soured him forever on the movie business. (Joss Whedon: Geek King of the Universe ")
  2.  That same year , Fox Exec Jorge Saralegui was planning to resurrect a film franchise that was very close to Joss' heart. (Joss Whedon: Geek King of the Universe ")
  3. The audience's displeasure with Alien 3 was reflected in the box office; the film grossed little more than $53 million in North America and $159.7 million worldwide - less than Aliens' take when adjusted for inflation. Several of the cast and crew from the franchise would express their open frustration and disappointment. Cameron said that killing several of the previous film's most essential characters as "a slap in the face" to both him and the fans of Aliens. As for Joss, he complained that "the fans were robbed.... They actually had a scene where people we didn't know were being killed by the alien."(Joss Whedon: Geek King of the Universe ")
  4.  All of this left Jorge Saralegui wondering if the audience would by an Alien movie without its leading lady. But Weaver had wanted Ripley killed off and have very little interest in returning to the franchise, so Saralegui decided to bring back Newt, the little girl that Ripley saved instead. Although Newt died at the beginning of Alien 3, Saralegui's idea was that she would be cloned because of the survival skills she demonstrated in Aliens, and would be used by Ripley's former employer to track down the alien for their own research. The cloned Newt, in effect, would become a Buffy-like character - a young girl embued with special skills and strengths to take out a particular enemy. (Joss Whedon: Geek King of the Universe ") 
  5. Jorge Saralegui:  After Alien  3, there was no rush to make Alien 4. They weren't even thinking about it. Alien was the only movie that I saw before I worked in the film business,- which I loved- and all of a sudden, here I am working at Fox - I can work on an Alien movie! It would be like starting all over again. (Starburst, Special #35, p83)
  6. Jorge Saralegui: It was a matter of convincing them [the studio] to give it a shot. At the time, Ripley had died and it was Sigourney's idea to kill her, so we had no intention of bringing her back, we didn't think she'd want to come back. We had the notion of having Newt cloned and it could be Alien: The Next Generation.  The people at Fox liked the idea enough to say "Okay, why don't you start working on it and find a writer? " The first person I thought of was Joss Whedon. This is after he wrote Buffy The Vampire Slayer - the movie script a, not the TV series.(Starburst, Special #35, p83-84)
  7. Joss Whedon: It was Jorge Saralegui who got this whole thing started in the first place. He is very smart with Story, a huge fan and completely gets it (Starburst, Special #35, p84)
  8. Fox Hikes Saralegui. Continuing his steady rise through the 20th Century Fox executive ranks, Jorge Saralegui has been upped to executive VP of production at the studio.
    Saralegui, a former novelist who began his career at Fox as a reader eight years ago, has worked as senior VP of production since June 1995. At that time, he inked a three-year contract with the studio after having been hotly pursued by several other studios and production companies. The new promotion comes under Saralegui’s existing contract, which expires early next year.
    Jorge is a simply terrific executive, an excellent developer with superior judgment in material and talent,” said Fox production prexy Tom Rothman, announcing the promotion. “I am really pleased to recognize his many contributions and his continued importance to the success of our team.
    Beginning with the 1994 hit actioner “Speed,” which he brought to the studio and subsequently helped develop and supervise, Saralegui has made a name for himself by shepherding through development and production such projects as “Independence Day,” “Broken Arrow” and “Die Hard With a Vengeance.”
    The job is a lot easier when you get to work with such incredible talent,” said Saralegui. “I’ve had a priceless education with some of the best filmmakers in the world, and am very grateful to Fox for having given me this opportunity.”
    Saralegui currently is overseeing the production of “Speed 2: Cruise Control,” starring Sandra Bullock and Jason Patric under Jan De Bont’s helm; “Alien: Resurrection,” starring Sigourney Weaver and Winona Ryder and helmed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet from Joss Whedon’s script; and “Great Expectations,” starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Ethan Hawke and Anne Bancroft for helmer Alfonso Cuaron.
    Before Fox, Saralegui published three novels, then worked for a brief stint as a story analyst for IndieProd Co. He joined Fox in 1989 as a reader and was upped to creative exec and then director of production before being named VP of production in 1993.
    (http://variety.com/1997/scene/vpage/fox-hikes-saralegui-1117434775/ April 14, 1997 )
     

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