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James Cameron Talks Alien$ Myth! And There’s More To It!

For some years now there has been a story that James Cameron pitched Aliens to Brandywine in a very simple and tantalizing way – by writing Alien$ on a chalkboard- floating around the internet. It’s a story that never seemed to have much merit as Alien series research extraordinaire Valaquen explored on Strange Shapes back in 2017. There’s a lot to that annecodate that just doesn’t fit. However, it turns out the interaction did actually happen, just not in the way that is often believed.

With Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron having recently released, James Cameron is continuing his press rounds to promote the book, where when talking to CinemaBlend, the outlet asked him about the Alien$ story. It turns out it happened, but not in the way that the myth goes. It wasn’t a pitch for the movie – that’s a whole other disaster – but a pitch for the title.

“It was actually on the back of a script, or some kind of presentation document. It might’ve been the treatment. I can’t remember. I was sitting with the three producers, and we were in the office of the then-head of 20th Century Fox. And I said, ‘Guys, I got an idea for the title. And it goes like this.’ And I wrote, ‘Alien’ in large block letters. And I put an S on the end. I showed it to them. I said, ‘I want to call it Aliens, because we’re not dealing with one. Now we’re dealing with an army, and that’s the big distinction. And it’s very simple and very graphic.’ And I said, ‘But here’s what it’s going to translate to.’ And then I drew the two lines through it to make it a dollar sign. And that was my pitch. And apparently it worked! Because they went with the title. They never questioned it.”

 James Cameron Talks Alien$ Myth! And There's More To It!

“‘But here’s what it’s going to translate to.’ And then I drew the two lines through it to make it a dollar sign.”

Cameron also recently talked about the Aliens poster while promoting Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron, recalling the story of how Aliens’ iconic simple and all black poster came to be. Make sure you check out that story here! Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron is available for purchase on Amazon (UK/US) from £35.98/$50.30. Thanks to RidgeTop for the news.

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Comments: 25
  1. Valaquen
    Wasn't that an Alien 3 comment?

    Yeah, I think it was Giler or Hill who said that.

    I was obviously paraphrasing a bit but the original comment went: "You could have somebody piss against the wall for two hours and call it Alien 3, and it would still do 30 million... "

    I don't know who said it, but the quote comes from David Fincher paraphrasing an unnamed executive.
  2. The Eighth Passenger
    They didn't need convinced to make the movie, they needed convinced to ditch ALIEN II and goes for ALIENS instead. I suppose ALIEN II might've had more brand recognition as a sequel to Ridley's movie.

    There was already another film called "Alien 2: On Earth", released in 1980. Kind of an unofficial sequel and cash-in on the Alien brand name before it was registered and trademarked.

    Having two Alien 2(II)'s films circulating would likely have caused confusion.
  3. StrangeShape
    Yep, it's referenced in my original post. But Val's article there is talking about why that story doesn't work as a pitch for the film. Cameron is saying it wasn't, that it was a pitch for the title which is why it now seems to make sense.

    Oh I dont know how I missed the reference in your post, I guess because Ive read it yesterday and replied a day later that I forgot about it. I believe its what happened but more as a joke, as it seems to have been, rather than an actual sole pitch that the legend seemed to inferr it was. So, it wasnt a reason why they agreed on the title, Just perhaps a lighthearted gesture in addition to the pitch for the title, not a pitch itself

    As Cameron says in the quote above, he might've written the quip on the back of the treatment, so by that point he'd already been offered the job by Giler and Hill and been at work on the story. They didn't need convinced to make the movie, they needed convinced to ditch ALIEN II and goes for ALIENS instead. I suppose ALIEN II might've had more brand recognition as a sequel to Ridley's movie.

    No I know I agree, what Im saying is that the $ sign isnt the reason they agreed on the title. All the arguments that Caneron and Gale were giving for it, detailed more in Rinzlers book, were
  4. Valaquen
    Yep, it's referenced in my original post. But Val's article there is talking about why that story doesn't work as a pitch for the film. Cameron is saying it wasn't, that it was a pitch for the title which is why it now seems to make sense.

    Oh I dont know how I missed the reference in your post, I guess because Ive read it yesterday and replied a day later that I forgot about it. I believe its what happened but more as a joke, as it seems to have been, rather than an actual sole pitch that the legend seemed to inferr it was. So, it wasnt a reason why they agreed on the title, Just perhaps a lighthearted gesture in addition to the pitch for the title, not a pitch itself

    As Cameron says in the quote above, he might've written the quip on the back of the treatment, so by that point he'd already been offered the job by Giler and Hill and been at work on the story. They didn't need convinced to make the movie, they needed convinced to ditch ALIEN II and goes for ALIENS instead. I suppose ALIEN II might've had more brand recognition as a sequel to Ridley's movie.
  5. StrangeShape
    Yep, it's referenced in my original post. But Val's article there is talking about why that story doesn't work as a pitch for the film. Cameron is saying it wasn't, that it was a pitch for the title which is why it now seems to make sense.

    Oh I dont know how I missed the reference in your post, I guess because Ive read it yesterday and replied a day later that I forgot about it. I believe its what happened but more as a joke, as it seems to have been, rather than an actual sole pitch that the legend seemed to inferr it was. So, it wasnt a reason why they agreed on the title, Just perhaps a lighthearted gesture in addition to the pitch for the title, not a pitch itself
  6. Kradan
    Speaking of which, is there any info about who came up with "Alien³" title ?  I've heard that for a long time they were gonna go with "Alien III" (it's definetly in some of the rejected drafts)
  7. Corporal Hicks
    Yep, it's referenced in my original post. But Val's article there is talking about why that story doesn't work as a pitch for the film. Cameron is saying it wasn't, that it was a pitch for the title which is why it now seems to make sense.
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