Pitch Black Followed The Example Set By Lord Of The Rings And Mad Max

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In the 2000 film “Pitch Black,” star Vin Diesel plays a convict being transported to a prison on a spaceship when it’s damaged and lands on a desert planet. Though it looks deserted and continually bathed in light, there are dangerous creatures there that come out only in the dark. That would be fine … if an eclipse wasn’t happening. The crew and passengers, including an Imam and his followers, a person looking for a new home, a bounty hunter, and an antique dealer, now have to fight off these creatures, and not everyone survives. 

The film was a sleeper hit, making $53 million worldwide on a $23 million budget, according to Box Office Mojo. The film spawned two sequels, “The Chronicles of Riddick” in 2004 and “Riddick” in 2013. Both films also starred Diesel, with David Twohy directing all three. According to a 2002 story from Variety, Twohy wasn’t originally going to direct the sequels, but a few films getting prequels/sequels on a different scale got him interested in what they could do with the next two films. 

Following The Paths Of Prior Trilogies

Twohy didn’t plan to be altogether out of the picture for at least the first sequel. He told Variety that he’d pitched an “ambitious treatment for a sequel” in 2000 but that the studio had passed. Of course, this happened before the first film more than doubled its budget in box office money, so it’s no surprise that they didn’t want to take on anything “ambitious.” Plus, as the article pointed out, Twohy was working on “Below” and was scheduled to write and direct another project. Something changed his mind and the minds at the studio. Twohy said: 

“It was only after ‘Lord of the Rings’ and the new ‘Star Wars’ [referring to the prequels] that the possibilities here grabbed us. Once we started running with it, everybody fell in love with what we were doing, even the studio. Is everybody planning for three? Yes, they are.” 

When they realized that sequels (and prequels) were working well for those franchises, the studio put aside other drafts for “The Chronicles of Riddick” written by David Hayter and Akiva Goldsman and went with Twohy’s pitch. He continued: 

“Vin has become a bigger star, and he and I became interested in multiple pictures. Vin wanted a franchise and when ‘Fast and the Furious’ didn’t happen for him, we pitched this to the studio, and they went for the idea of not just one but up to three follow-ups. We’ll give Riddick multiple adversaries on different levels. We think of ‘Pitch Black’ like ‘Mad Max’ was to ‘Road Warrior,’ or ‘The Hobbit’ was to ‘Lord of the Rings.’ They were places to find one of your characters, enabling you to take them to different places in subsequent films.”

Starting Small, Then Expanding

The idea that “Fast and the Furious” didn’t happen for Diesel back then is fun to hear about, considering we’re now on the tenth film in the franchise, not counting spinoffs and short films. In case you’re wondering about that statement, the first film, “The Fast and the Furious,” came out in 2001, and the first sequel, “2 Fast 2 Furious,” came out after this interview in 2003.

What he said about “different levels” is interesting because the examples he uses in the second quote certainly have that. “Mad Max” was a smaller film than “The Road Warrior,” just as “Pitch Black” started as a small ensemble sci-fi piece and then expanded, focusing on Diesel’s character with huge battles. “The Hobbit” maybe not so much if we’re talking about the films, which were years in the future when Twohy did this interview. They ended up being huge, splitting this tiny children’s book by J.R.R. Tolkien into three epic films. However, Twohy was talking about the books specifically. “The Lord of the Rings” is an epic tale full of complex characters, political maneuverings, and massive battles, whereas “The Hobbit” — which takes place before “LOTR” — is small and far more contained. 

Read this next: The 18 Best Action Movie Actors Ranked

The post Pitch Black Followed The Example Set By Lord Of The Rings And Mad Max appeared first on /Film.

/Film – Pitch Black Followed The Example Set By Lord Of The Rings And Mad Max
Author: Jenna Busch
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March 10, 2023

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