After years of waiting from “Back to the Future” fans, 2015 saw an auspicious date: Oct. 21. It was the date that Marty McFly and “Doc” Emmett Brown traveled to the future in “Back to the Future II,” and when it finally rolled around, it became a celebration of the beloved film franchise.
Twentieth Century Fox is looking to recreate that magic again for its long-running “Alien” franchise. A key location in the 1979 horror film “Alien” and its 1986 sequel “Aliens” is LV-426, the barren planet where human spacefarers discover deadly alien creatures. Riffing on that number, Fox pushed April 26 as “Alien Day,” and has a number of giveaways and events running to excite franchise fans.
The hub for the event is Fox’s @AlienAnthology Twitter account, using the hashtag #AlienDay426. Teaming with Nerdist Industries, the account is offering trivia questions every 42.6 minutes, giving fans a chance to win cool prizes.
The biggest and coolest prize is probably a special release from Reebok for Alien Day: the high-top sneakers worn by Sigourney Weaver in “Aliens.” Dubbed “Alien Stompers,” Reebok is making the shoes available starting today to fans who want to order them and don’t happen to win a pair with their fast fingers and alien knowledge.
“Alien” screenings are taking place at Drafthouse theaters across the country today, and special screenings of “Aliens” are taking place in Los Angeles and New York — some of which will even feature stars Sigourney Weaver, Jenette Goldstein and Carrie Hawn from the film.
Some people have reacted a bit cynically to the idea of “Alien Day.” For years, the Internet has made a big deal of May 4 as “Star Wars Day” thanks to the phrase “May the Fourth be with you,” and what started as a fun fan celebration was co-opted by marketers in a way that annoyed the very people they were trying to reach. For the most part, though, while some have reacted unfavorably to the idea of Alien Day, it seems most fans are pretty excited about it — and that has a lot to do with how Fox has handled the situation. By focusing on fan giveaways, cool screenings and other opportunities to give back to the dedicated “Alien” community, it seems that Fox has done a pretty good job of actually celebrating its long-running film franchise, rather than just attempting to push existing fans toward buying more stuff.
That attitude — of giving back to fans and of being as excited about the franchise as they are — is important to the success of events like Alien Day. Fox’s focus for its first “Alien” day has been on engaging fans and making them feel appreciated. Those kinds of actions make fans excited about being a part of a community, and it helps events like Alien Day build even more loyalty among a franchise’s biggest devotees.