The theater chain industry is in the deepest doldrums, and the situation shows no signs of improving in the near future, with most upcoming blockbusters postponing their release by several months to a full year. A small ray of hope was recently shone for distributors by producer James Cameron when he announced on Twitter that his film Alita: Battle Angel will be returning to theaters by the end of the month.
“We’re with you #AlitaArmy – Alita’s coming back to the big screen on October 30th.”
When it comes to a disconnect between the general audiences and hardcore fans, Alita: Battle Angel rivals the history of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Much like the latter, Alita: Battle Angel debuted in theaters to a lot of fanfare, but that did not translate to strong box-office numbers.
While Snyder fans launched a crusade to have Warner Bros. release the “Snyder cut” of Justice League, Alita: Battle Angel fans, who dubbed themselves the “Alita army”, launched a campaign to have a sequel made, even though the original movie was not deemed profitable enough to warrant a new installment in the fledgling franchise.
Based on Japanese manga artist Yukito Kishiro’s 1990s series Gunnm and its 1993 original video animation adaptation, Battle Angel, Alita: Battle Angel tells the story of a dystopian future society where cyborgs are the norm. One such disembodied cyborg head with no long-term memories is discovered by a scientist, who gives the head a new body, and names it Alita. The rest of the movie centers around Alita’s attempts to learn the truth about her past, and coming to terms with the true nature of her being.
The ending of the movie clearly hinted that it was intended to be the start of a franchise, with Edward Norton, Jai Courtney, and Michelle Rodriguez appearing in small roles that were meant to be expanded upon in future installments of the series. Fans praised the world building and aesthetics of the movie, and were looking forward to exploring Hollywood’s first live-action anime franchise.
Unfortunately, despite a $400 million+ gross at the box office, Alita: Battle Angel was deemed to have underperformed, and plans for the sequels were scrapped. Recently fans got excited when it seemed Jai Courtney was suiting up in a mo-cap uniform to film an Alita sequel, but the actor had to regretfully shoot the rumor down.
“I can tell you this, it wasn’t for Alita: Battle Angel. So, sorry CinemaBlend audience. It was another thing. I actually got the chance to go do an episode of Love Death + Robots on Netflix. Some good friends of mine were involved in making it… It’s this Tim Miller/David Fincher creation, and it was a chance to get off the couch during quarantine and do something completely different.”
Hopefully, another run at the box-office will yield the kind of monetary profit that will finally prompt the studio to greenlight a new Alita movie, and the year-long efforts of fans will finally be rewarded. Directed by Robert Rodriguez, Alita: Battle Angel features Rosa Salazar as Alita/99, Christoph Waltz as Dr. Dyson Ido, Keean Johnson as Hugo, Mahershala Ali as Vector, Jennifer Connelly as Dr. Chiren, and Ed Skrein as Zapan. The film returns to theaters on Oct. 30.