EXCLUSIVE: Screen Media and Legion M have acquired North American rights to Alexandre O. Philippe’s documentary feature Memory: The Origins of Alien, an exploration of the classic sci-fi film Alien. The companies release the film in theaters this summer, timed to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Alien‘s theatrical release.
The deal marks the first since the partnership between Legion M and CSS Entertainment, which owns film distributor Screen Media, was announced last December.
It also comes on Alien Day, an annual fan celebration of the 1979 Ridley Scott film. The holiday derives its name because the film’s colonial moon, Acheron, was originally known as LV-426. Hence, the date of Alien Day has been fixed as April 26 each year.
Memory: The Origins of Alien unearths the largely untold origin story behind Scott’s cinematic masterpiece Alien, and reveals a treasure trove of never-before-seen materials from the archives of Alien creators Dan O’Bannon and H.R. Giger – including original story notes, rejected designs and storyboards, exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, and O’Bannon’s original 29-page script from 1971, titled Memory.
The documentary also takes fans on an exploration of the mythical underpinnings of Alien and dedicates focus on the film’s iconic “Chestburster” scene. Memory: The Origins of Alien premiered in the Midnight Section at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and screened at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, CPH: DOX, Hot Docs and and other fests.
The deal comes on the heels of Screen Media’s recent acquisition of Corporate Animals, which also premiered in the Midnight section at Sundance.
Paris-based Indie Sales is handling Memory sales for the rest of the world.
Leveraging the “wisdom of the crowd,” Memory: The Origins of Alien was one of the highest-rated Sundance films on Legion M’s SCOUT platform, where fans in Park City and around the world had the opportunity to become film scouts by rating and evaluating information on nearly 120 films premiering at the festival. The Legion M Scout community provided data that directly influenced the companies’ decision to acquire the documentary.
The film is an Exhibit A Pictures production, produced by Kerry Deignan Roy; and co-produced by Annick Mahnert of Screen Division, Chad Herschberger of Milkhaus, and Robert Muratore of Exhibit A Pictures. Diane O’Bannon, Carmen Giger and Leslie Barany served as executive producers.
Memory: The Origins of Alien marks the fifth feature doc from Philippe, Roy and Muratore’s Exhibit A Pictures, including 78/52, a film about Hitchcock’s Psycho shower scene, Doc of the Dead, The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus and The People Vs. George Lucas. They are currently working on a film about The Exorcist with William Friedkin.
“With Screen Media’s distribution savvy, and Legion M’s profound understanding of, and access to the fans, our film couldn’t be in better hands,” says Philippe. “I’m confident that Memory, our fitting follow-up to 78/52, will resonate well beyond Alien fandom, as a deeper, darker, richer contemplation on the magic and mystery of cinema.”
“Alien – specifically the demise of John Hurt’s chest – is a seminal moment in cinema – one where you remember exactly where you were when you first saw it,” said Seth Needle, SVP of Worldwide Acquisitions at Screen Media. “Alexandre and Kerry have done an incredible job creating the buzz from that film with Memory: The Origins of Alien, and we know hardcore fans of the series and mainstream audiences alike will love watching this.”
Needle and Paul Scanlan, co-founder and CEO, and Terri Lubaroff, COO and head of content, at Legion M, negotiated the deal with Raphael Aknin, VP Legal, and Nicolas Eschbach, CEO of Indie Sales on behalf of the filmmakers.