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Why Aliens Isn’t Called Alien 2 | Screen Rant

Aliens director James Cameron is one of the most successful filmmakers in the world, but his pitch for his Alien sequel speaks much more to his ego.

James Cameron’s Aliens is a great sequel to Alien - but why does it have that title rather than simply Alien 2? Ridley Scott’s original Alien movie showed the world that in space no one can hear the screams of those in need and he set loose the monstrous Xenomorph design on the world. Ever since the movie’s debut, these characters and their universe have fascinated audiences and they’ve fueled an extensive franchise that has gone into the series’ ancient lore and beyond.

The original Alien still made hundreds of millions at the box office on a meager budget of approximately $10 million, but due to extensive marketing costs, the film didn’t actually bring in much of a profit and there was no rush to move forward with a sequel. However, a young James Cameron, who was confident off of his recent success with The Terminator, used that energy to fuel a wildly unconventional pitch for an Alien sequel.

Related: Why Alien 3 Killed Off Hicks & Newt

The standard pitch, which is what 20th Century Fox was expecting from Cameron, includes a treatment, a more detailed outline, and typically an estimated budget and possible production art. Cameron entered the pitch with absolutely nothing at all. He simply wrote the word “Alien” on the room’s whiteboard and then added an “S” at the end, which he drew two lines through to make a dollar sign to make into “Alien$”. 20th Century Fox greenlit the sequel on the spot with a budget of $18 million, using the title Aliens rather than what would've been the more conventional Alien 2.

The producers involved have spoken about how this is the craziest pitch they’ve ever received and it had so much to do with Cameron’s clout and attitude at the time. Aliens went on to make over $130 million at the box office and birth many sequels, so Cameron’s flimsy pitch was still a success. There’s still some debate on whether Cameron’s sequel to Alien is the better movie or not, as it pushes the horror and science fiction film further into action territory. Impressively, Cameron’s sequel just adds more to the equation in every way and turns out a bigger and more exciting movie by looking at what worked and then pushing it to crazier places.

Of course, James Cameron is now known as one of the most successful filmmakers in the world, and part of that comes from his work on the Alien sequel. It’s rather humorous to look at someone like Cameron now, who has become so immersed in technology and the science behind his films, to see how he fell back on an arrogant gimmick for his Aliens pitch. At least they took the dollar sign out of the actual title.

Next: What Happened To Bishop After The End Of Aliens (All Versions)

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