That's true, it did make more money than AvP. But AvP had a bigger opening weekend and made back almost triple its budget. Covenant will not be able to do that.
It didn't perform worse than AvP in total gross, but it did perform badly. Even when I sat down in the theater, at the earliest possible showing in my country, and saw that the theater was perhaps only 70% full, I just had the feeling it wouldn't do too well.
Not an idiot. If you look a the old box office prediction thread, about ninety percent of the forum expected this movie to perform significantly better than it did. This is a poor showing, worse than even the lowest predictions. This is one of Fox's biggest franchises, and they probably lost money on it. They crashed one of their flagship franchises into the ground. For a post-Prometheus, post-Martian, Scott-directed Alien movie to perform worse than AvP is an embarrassment for everyone involved. They can spin it all they want, but the industry will look on this as a failure and I'm sure the stockholders will question the wisdom of making more of these. Calling people an idiot won't make Covenant a better, more successful movie.
Covenant wasted so much money and as I predicted performed mediocrely at best. What a horrible showing. (Not withstanding all of the scenes cut from in China).
Even barring the negative social media campaigns and leaked spoilers, it just doesn't seem there was much hype for another Alien movie.
Hope they keep all of this in mind for the next one. Just removing the "Alien" in Alien: Awakening might make a huge difference for nowadays twitter bots.
At least one pundit believes the Alien label was a liability. I think they should have made a straight Prometheus sequel called Covenant, kept Shaw, and pushed the sci-fi angle. Original sci-fi is huge right now, and Scott is the king of original sci-fi. Trying to make Alien into Star Wars was always going to end in disappointment. There is no universe where Covenant made Star Wars money. They missed their chance to create a new, vital franchise by reboarding a ship they've known was sinking for 25 years. Sci-fi has to continually push boundaries or it doesn't work. Same with horror. Looking back at how audiences, and even James Cameron, reacted to the first teaser, the public could tell immediately that Covenant wasn't going to break any new ground and had retreated from the high-concept approach of Prometheus. Nobody finds a total lack of confidence appealing. To have a successful movie like Prometheus receive such a safe sequel is retreating after victory. It's so cowardly it's kind of pitiful.
The thing is, to a large extent did make an original sci-fi movie. It had new creatures, it gave a backstory for the old creature and gave a new spin on its development, it had an overarching theme of creation, it had allegories and artistic references. The third act is mainly where we re-tread old waters, but even then, if you accept it as a build-up for the triumphant final it feels much more coherent and fitting.
However, normies are not going to pick up on this, at least not unless you tell them. The marketing campaign ended up being very misguided, focusing on the action and horror aspects instead of what the movie was actually about.