I'm fine with CGI myself, all the CGI in prometheus was done very well and tastefully.
Besides knowing Scott, he'll do practical effects when possible. ( we've also had actors say that there were practical creatures on set)
We also know Odd Studio in Sydney did a lot of practical creature work.
The 200 million quote is the only think that makes me pessimistic. That makes Covenant the most expensive R rated movie of all time, and if you add in advertising and all that, you have to figure around a 400 million break even point. That's a huge uphill battle for this film.
I still think the 200 million is gonna come out as bullshit since Prometheus didn't even make that before Home video release. It came close, but still, yeah, didn't quite make it. That is a huge budget for a niche horror movie to recover, and it certainly won't have Deadpool crossover potential. I am hopeful it makes that money back, but I think i would be even more hopeful if it has a Prometheus budget attached to it.
Yes, once you go past the $150 million mark on an R-Rated film you start getting diminishing returns the higher you go. The only way that $200 million figure could work is if it includes marketing/advertising costs.
Production cost wise, $150 sounds reasonable, albeit still very high for a film such as this.
Where are we getting the info that says the CGI was used on the creatures? Maybe to enhance them, but we know there is practical and puppet work. My guess is this "Liberal CGI" is more likely in reference to realizing PARADISE. Based on the leaked photos alone, they are probably creating the equivalent of a Prehistoric Forest and enhancing the natural landscapes to appear more fantastic. To truly make PARADISE as fantastic as they can, I wouldn't sweat this... Probably adds to the world-building. Also we know there is this scene of these Engineers or people, in the throws of mutation, being petrified. Maybe we will get to see that somehow? There are some things which it just doesnt make sense to do practically.
Production Cost for Horror is in new territory right now. Its hard to estimate what's worth what in a market like this. A case could be made that the studios are more and more desperate for something reliable with an R-Rating. Very true that 200m seems high, and maybe unlikely, but this film is a full restoration of the ALIEN franchise, its Scott right after THE MARTIAN, coming off the success of PROMETHEUS (are we really still arguing over whether that film was a success?), and it may not have oscar-winners, but Fassbender is a major headliner and he is reprising a critically acclaimed role. The Horror thing is tough. On the one hand, yes horror and R-rated films have IN THE PAST meant diminishing returns, after a certain budgetary threshold, but it is with restraint that I would add, from a Producer's standpoint, that a horror franchise with built in desire for future cross platform material, and fan base - Something like THE WALKING DEAD, for instance, which is a runaway success, are in short supply and also very popular. Especially previously established properties; the likes of which, studios would love to establish or RE-ESTABLISH, at a time like this, when the audience for, popularity of, and acceptance of dark gory-horror is at an all time high. So I'm just saying we are really in new territory for the horror genre. Traditionally R-RATED original material isn't guaranteed to make $ but an R-rated established
fan-favorite, like ALIEN, is kinda in a new place right now, due to the popularity of things like THE WALKING DEAD and etc. For sure ALIEN has always been a sort of anomaly for R-RATED material, historically. There really aren't many opportunities for the studios to bank on this type of thing, and they may have decided this is as good as any chance to do so. These new reports of the "most violent ALIEN film" not-with-standing. Still 200m seems high. There are also plans to make more of these films, so investing when the iron is hot is also a consideration. ::Shrugs::