Ridley Scott's proposed prequel to his 1979 horror hit Alien has stalled before production could even begin.
The director is at odds with the studio behind the project, 20th Century Fox, over budgetary and creative differences, according to sources close to the production.
It would seem Scott wants a budget of around $250m to make it a sci-fi spectacular, and is also pushing for an 18-rated level of violence and horror. Fox, however, don't plan on investing anywhere near that sum, and are keen to get a 15 rating to maximise the audience appeal.
The movie was announced late 2009, and a script has been in development ever since. Lost showrunner, Damon Lindelof, was reported to have edited a version of the script in the summer of 2010, and Scott even began talking about the film's direction as recently as September in an interview with The Independent.
"The film will be really tough, really nasty," he said. "It's the dark side of the moon. We are talking about gods and engineers. Engineers of space. And were the aliens designed as a form of biological warfare? Or biology that would go in and clean up a planet?"
Scott's original Alien movie was a full-blooded horror released in 1979, and produced on a budget of $11m (about $31m in today's money). The subsequent sequels had far more cash lavished on them, but both Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection targeted 15 ratings. In the case of Alien3, director David Fincher cited the studio's involvement as the main reason for the film's critical failure.
The first of the Alien Vs. Predator spin-offs was designed for a younger audience, receiving a PG-13 rating in the States (12A in the UK), while the more recent sequel, AvP: Requiem, restored the violence and R rating Stateside (18 in the UK), but still didn't find the critical success of the original movies.
Scott has been dismissive of the AvP franchise, although at ComicCon 2010 he refused to pass an opinion, saying; "I actually have a very good relationship with 20th Century Fox. But they know how I feel (about the spin-offs).".
As exciting as his vision sounds, it seems Ridley Scott will need to rely on his famous stubborn streak if he's to convince Fox that his direction is the way forward.
Would you be happier just to see Aliens back on the big screen, albeit with a less-gory, cheaper approach? Or do you think they should just leave it alone if they're not going to do it right? Let us know on our Facebook page and Twitter stream.