After almost 40 years, audiences are still interested in the "Alien" universe. Ridley Scott's "Alien: Covenant," from 20th Century Fox, dethroned Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," which had topped the box office for two straight weeks. Meanwhile, Warner Bros.' "Everything, Everything" and Fox's" "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" sequel battled for those not interested in R-rated scares.
"Alien" took in an estimated $36 million in the U.S. and Canada, coming in below analyst projections of $40 million to $50 million. Internationally, the picture pulled $30.3 million this weekend after already being open in territories across the globe. Its worldwide take rests at $117.8 million to date.
"It does endure the test of time," said Chris Aronson, the studio's head of distribution, "as does Sir Ridley Scott."
The latest in the aging franchise is the eighth film, counting the two widely panned "Alien Vs. Predator" movies. It's also a sequel to 2012's "Prometheus," a heady quasi-prequel to the original 1979 "Alien." Even with an admittedly confusing timeline, the studio was able to drum up interest in the flick among core "Alien" fans with gruesome marketing and generally positive reviews. It may also help that the the famous creatures designed by surrealist H.R. Giger -- the xenomorphs and facehuggers -- that "Prometheus" lacked, due to its origin-of-man backstory, were reintroduced.
Audiences (62% male; 66% 25 and older; 51% white) gave the picture a B CinemaScore, while critics averaged a 73% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
"Alien: Covenant" performed worse than its 2012 predecessor which brought in $51 million in its debut. That film ended up collecting $400 million worldwide. But considering the studio saved more than 25% in production costs this go around, with a $97-million price tag, the future of "Covenant's" profitability still looks promising.
Falling to second place in its third week was "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" with a still-impressive $35.1 million this weekend. It has pulled in $301.8 million domestically to date for a global tally more than $732 million.
Performing the best of the other new releases was "Everything, Everything," which took in $12 million. The Warner Bros. and MGM movie directed by Stella Meghie ("Jean of the Joneses") met analyst projections of a $10-million to $12-million opening. Such a performance is a respectable debut for a film that cost $10 million to make.
A young-adult tearjerker, "Everything, Everything" is about a teen girl who's sealed off from the world because she has a severe immune system disease. But when she falls for the guy next door, through text messages and window pane conversations, she risks it all. Adapted from Nicola Yoon's bestselling YA novel of the same name, it stars Amandla Stenberg ("The Hunger Games"), Nick Robinson ("Jurassic World") and Anika Noni Rose.
Audiences and critics appear split on the teen romantic drama. While moviegoers gave it an A-minus, the film has an average 43% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Landing in fourth was Amy Schumer's "Snatched," from Fox. In its second week, the poorly reviewed mother-daughter comedy, starring Goldie Hawn, pulled in $7.6 million. It's grossed $32.8 million domestically to date.
"Diary of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul" took the fifth spot in its debut with $7.2 million, well below analyst projections of $12 million. Such a performance is also way below its 2012 predecessor's $14-million debut and even more so than the 2010 original's $22 million.
Granted, the film is the fourth in a series of live-action children's book adaptations. But the family audience that was expected to show up for the film with a $22-million price tag, didn't. This might be due to overwhelmingly poor reviews; it has a low 19% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Moviegoers who did see the flick gave it a B on CinemaScore.
Next week, Disney's gets back into the box office conversation with the latest in its "Pirates of the Caribbean" series, "Dead Men Tell No Tales."