Diminishing returns for every film since 1979, since you seem to be adjusting for inflation.
I stand corrected.
I find it ironic though, that despite your seemingly unending distaste for ALIENS. It was that very film the turned the ALIEN series into the Ripley show.
In A L I E N she was just the final girl. No other story relevance, then Cameron came along and pinned a sequel all about Ellen Ripley.
Yes, Aliens did turn it into the Ripley show. I have no problem with that.
Unfortunately the sequels thought that every story there after needed to revolve around Ripley. They were proven wrong time and again. It’s become a curse the series, save for the prequels who have their own identity crisis, still can’t seem too shake.
That's why I say Newt and Hicks were just side characters that revolved around Ripley. Ripley is the star of Aliens. It is her story from the beginning of the movie. The others are just supporting characters.
While I agree the overall story is heavily written with Ripley at the center. It’s not solely about her. ALIENS like it’s predecessor and successors have and always will be ensemble films.
So including Newt and Hicks in Alien 3 wouldn't make much sense. There's nothing more they could add to the story. They are just there to prop up Ripley and that's it. They are not the stars of the show, they are peripheral.
It’s lazy writing to say Hicks and Newt served no further narrative purpose. Same can be said of Ripley after A L I E N. Without the benefit of hindsight. How would you have continued that story? At this point all we know of Ripley as a character is that she was the final girl who beat the star beast and detonated her crew’s vessel. We have no other info on her as the film wasn’t about her. It was about the Xenomorph.
The mark of great writers is to expand upon those thin plot threads and elaborate on situations and themes. So with that minimal info, Cameron created much of Ellen Ripley’s on-screen background and gave her a narrative reason to be relevant past the inquest scene.
The same could have been done for ALIEN3 with Hicks and Newt. It wasn’t, not really a big deal too me. But, I can see other people’s POV in regards to the ultimate fate of two beloved characters via bad writing. A glimpse into some of those people’s reason for disliking the way Hicks and Newt were offed can probably be summed up by a quote from ALIEN3 -
“You're all gonna die. Only question is how you check out. Do you want it on your feet? Or on your f**king knees, begging? I ain't much for begging. Nobody ever gave me nothing! So I say f**k that thing! Let's fight it! “
Except Hicks and Newt didn’t get that chance. Which is where the hard feelings come from I imagine?