Just like May the Fourth for "Star Wars" (May 4) and now First Contact Day for "Star Trek" (April 5), the "Alien" franchise too has assigned a tenuous calendar date to market new merchandise and make public any big, new announcements.
The selected date is April 26 (4-26) and the association is the planet formerly designated as LV-426 in the epic 1986 sequel "Aliens." This of course is the same planet that the alien derelict spacecraft is discovered in the original 1979 movie "Alien," so it's pretty important in the story timeline.
On this date in the past for example, Reebok has re-released its "Aliens" Stomper sneakers, but this year there's a two-day auction of Hollywood extravaganza that includes a number of screen-used props from the "Alien" saga, together with items from "Independence Day," "Starship Troopers" and "Predator."
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The two-day event actually begins on April 28 and takes place at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills, California. Probably the star of the show is an original translucent prototype xenomorph costume (known as "Big Chap") designed by the surrealist artist and sculptor H.R. Giger for Ridley Scott's "Alien."
According to the official description, the costume was long lost and believed to have been destroyed. It was a test prototype designed, developed, sculpted and fabricated by Giger, who won an Academy Award for his work on "Alien."
It was created for consideration by director Ridley Scott during the early stages of pre-production on "Alien" when the Xenomorph creature suit was proposed to be largely translucent. Comprehensive lighting and camera tests were conducted by the pre-production team to demonstrate the potential. However, the final non-translucent costume was what was seen on screen. According to Julien’s Auctions, this "extraordinary costume is now considered the rarest and most elusive artifact from the 'Alien' film franchise."
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The remaining parts were carefully built onto a full custom mannequin with almond-sprayed reproduction pieces cast off originals designed to complete the display as well as preserve all of the parts and pieces, painstakingly restored by Tom Spina Designs. It's expected to sell for between $40,000 and $60,000.
"Museums are big buyers in our world because we're selling the sexy stuff, three dimensional items that people gravitate towards, and people will go through the doors of a museum, or a place of business that showcases items like this," Martin Nolan, executive director of Julien's Auctions, told Space.com.
"And then there's the fans, in particular the ones with high net worth, with disposable income. They're at a stage in their careers where they can have the wherewithal. If you remember the impression that the movie left on you and go forward 40 years, it's now possible to own something as amazing as this. And in years to come, you can probably turn around and sell this for more than you paid for it today. We've seen that, that trend, it's quite common now."
Also up for grabs is an original, screen-used costume (pants, tank-top, jacket, combat boots) worn by Sigourney Weaver from the third sequel "Alien: Resurrection" directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet in 1997. This is expected to sell for between $10,000 and $20,000.
"It's amazing, if you think about how, back in the 1970s and even before that, you were able to grab props and even pieces of set from the dumpsters behind major studios. Debbie Reynolds, for example, was able to go in and just get arm loads of stuff and throw it into the back of her car. It was viewed as an unnecessary additional cost to the studios to store or even sell this stuff, so they just got rid of it," Nolan said.
"I think it was probably around 1999 when people first started taking this sort of thing seriously, when there was Marilyn Monroe's first estate auction was in October of that year."
Another item on sale from "Alien: Resurrection" is an original costume (flight suit, vest, sports bra, leggings and boots) film worn by Winona Ryder as the character Call. She was a second-generation "auton" — robots designed by robots. So the story goes, they were supposed to revitalize the synthetic industry, however they buried it instead, as they "didn't like being told what to do." Consequently, the government issued a recall, but just a very small number escaped and stayed hidden. The costume is expected to fetch between $10,000 and $20,000.
The final item from the "Alien" saga is particularly interesting; in "Alien 3" the xenomorph is actually based on a quadruped as it comes out of the stomach of a poor dog. However, the more agile alien was actually a combination of a practical man-in-suit and a rod puppet that was filmed against blues creen and optically composited into the live-action footage. The suit was created by the special effects company Amalgamated Dynamics Inc, it was actually worn by the company’s founder and Stan Winston alumni, Tom Woodruff Jr. This is believed to be the only complete xenomorph costume from the "Alien 3" left in existence.
It features a fiberglass head shell, shoulder protrusions, a tail barb and a foam latex bodysuit with boots and gloves. It's fitted with internal tubing throughout the jaw for releasing drool, plus cables for controlling the headpiece and it's expected to sell for between $40,000 and $60,000.
Registration is required to bid in this online auction and that can be done in person at the exhibition, or online before the sale at the Julien's Auctions site to bid by phone, proxy or in person. There are four ways to bid:
1. Bid with Julien's Auctions online in real time or via the iPhone App.
2. Bid over the telephone through an auction house representative.
3. Bid in person in the room at our auction events
4. Bid in advance by absentee bid. Absentee bid forms are printed in the back of each catalogue, and are also available online or by calling Julien's Auctions on (310) 836-1818.