×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Alien: Covenant In Utero’ Puts Virtual Reality Spin on Fox Franchise

“Alien” fans have watched a long line of endoparasitoid extraterrestrials bloodily burst forth from the host bodies of unfortunate astronauts since the first entry in the franchise debuted in 1979.

Now, for the first time fans will be able to experience it from the creature’s perspective in “Alien: Covenant In Utero,” a two-minute 360-degree video debuting April 26 exclusively on Oculus.

“For me, it was about giving the audience an element of wish fulfillment,” said David Karlak, director of “In Utero,” at a press unveiling of the project hosted by FoxNext in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Previously, “we’ve always been on the receiving end of [the] violence.”

Although “In Utero” is designed to promote Fox’s upcoming sequel “Alien: Covenant,” it was not a postproduction afterthought dreamed up by the marketing department. Inspired by a scene in the film, it was made using CGI assets from the production created by Technicolor-owned VFX house MPC and produced in partnership with RSA Films, the production shingle of Ridley Scott, director of the original “Alien,” the 2012 prequel “Prometheus” and “Alien: Covenant.”

Fox first dipped its toe into virtual reality with “Wild – The Experience,” a 360-degree short that served as a promotion for the 2015 film “Wild,” starring Reese Witherspoon. Last fall, it followed with a full-fledged interactive VR experience inspired by Scott’s film “The Martian,” retailing for $9.99, which puts users in the spacesuit of astronaut Mark Watney.

Karlak was signed to direct “In Utero” after his sci-fi short about a robot insurgency, “Rise,” was screened for Scott.

“When we showed ‘Rise’ to Ridley, his immediate reaction was, ‘Who is this guy, why are we not making his films? Let’s get him to work with us,'” said Jen Dennis, who heads RSA Films’ recently-launched VR division.

Semiconductor manufacturer AMD, which makes processors that power home computers and gaming consoles including PlayStation 4 and XBox One, was brought in to ensure that “In Utero” can be viewed glitch-free on a variety of devices when it goes into wide release across mobile and tethered VR platforms on May 10, the same day “Alien: Convenant” hits theaters.

AMD is also teaming with computer maker Alienware and Oculus Rift to bring “In Utero” to customers at 15 Regal Cinemas locations.

According to Roy Taylor, AMD’s corporate VP of alliances, the goal is to help spur the adoption of VR, as well as promote the film. With “Alien,” “interest in the movies is so great that people will try VR that perhaps wouldn’t have tried it if they thought it was just for games,” he said.

“In Utero” is the first project from FoxNext, a division launched in January to serve as an umbrella for all of Fox Entertainment Group and Twentieth Century Fox Film’s video game, location-based entertainment, and virtual and augmented reality efforts, drawing on a broad range of new and existing Fox film and TV properties.

Initial projects include interactive VR experiences inspired by the “Planet of the Apes” and “Alien” franchises, the latter of which is scheduled to be released in 2018. Going forward, FoxNext plans to produce 2-4 fully-immersive VR products each year.

More Film

  • 'Diego Maradona' Review: The Football Legend

    Cannes Film Review: 'Diego Maradona'

    You expect the director of a biographical documentary to have a passion for whoever he’s making a movie about. But the British filmmaker Asif Kapadia spins right past passion and into obsession. He doesn’t just chronicle a personality — he does an immersive meditation on it. Kapadia plunges into the raw stuff of journalism: news [...]

  • Atlantics

    Emerging Talent From Gallic Cinema

    Variety is teaming with Unifrance, an agency that promotes French cinema around the world, to focus attention on four emerging talents in the French movie industry as part of Unifrance’s “New Faces of French Cinema” program. Here Variety profiles the rising filmmakers: Justine Triet, Eléa Gobbé-Mévellec, Hafsia Herzi and Mati Diop. Mati Diop Born to [...]

  • John Hannah Reunites With ‘The Mummy’

    John Hannah Reunites With ‘The Mummy’ Actors for Horror Pic ‘Lair’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    John Hannah, Corey Johnson and Oded Fehr will star in “Lair,” billed as a socially conscious horror movie about an LGBT family embroiled in one man’s attempt to prove the existence of the supernatural. The trio all appeared in the successful franchise “The Mummy,” and their new picture goes into production later this year. Katarina [...]

  • Loving Vincent Animation Oscars

    Adult Audience Animation: Cannes Panel Talks Big-Screen Strategy

    CANNES–A panel of leading animation industry executives gathered during the Cannes Film Market on Sunday to shed light on their strategies for the theatrical release of adult-oriented animated features. It was a timely conversation at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Five of the 28 animated projects in the Marché du Film are adult audience-focused, including [...]

  • Lea Drucker poses with the Best

    French Filmmaker Axelle Ropert Readies 'Petite Solange' With MK2 Films (EXCLUSIVE)

    French writer/director Axelle Ropert is set to direct “Petite Solange,” a film that will star Léa Drucker and Philippe Katerine, who won the best acting nods at this year’s Cesar Awards for their performances in “Custody” and “Sink or Swim,” respectively. MK2 films will handle international sales. Haut et Court has acquired rights for French [...]

  • Dutch FilmWorks Moves into International Sales

    Dutch Film Works Moves into International Sales (EXCLUSIVE)

    A major new international sales outfit is coming to market. Dutch Film Works (DFW), one of the largest movie distributors in the Benelux region, is moving into film and TV sales. DFW general manager Angela Pruijssers will spearhead the sales effort alongside Charlotte Henskens, who will join from Amsterdam-based Fortissimo Films, where she is director [...]

  • Gullane Taps The Match Factory, Bitters

    Gullane Taps Match Factory, Bitters End for Karim Ainouz’s ‘Neon River’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Gullane, the Brazilian producer of Marco Bellocchio’s Cannes competition player “The Traitor,” has linked with production partners for anticipated projects by two of Brazil’s highest-profile auteurs: Karim Ainouz and Fernando Coimbra. In further news, Luiz Bolognesi, writer-director of Annecy winner “Rio 2096,” is leading “Senna,” Gullane’s biggest movie project to date, a live-action biopic of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content