It’s been 30 years since director James Cameron did the unthinkable — taking a (then) 7-year-old sci-fi/horror movie and producing a sequel that exceeded everyone’s expectations — and some say Ridley Scott’s original installment. With only one film to his name at the time, 1984’s The Terminator, Cameron proved himself a blockbuster director when Aliens hit the theaters in July 1986. While 1979’s Alien used its deliberate pacing to slowly build up tension, Aliens rushed full-on into the action, proving that movies could build upon their world and switch genres while doing so. While the franchise would go on to inspire more sequels, prequels, spin-offs and crossovers through today, here are a few facts behind the movie Aliens in celebration of its 30th anniversary.
Getting Sigourney Weaver Took Some Convincing
Alien protagonist Sigourney Weaver wasn’t all that thrilled with the idea of returning to the franchise that made her a star. Her mind changed when she saw Cameron’s script, which was enough to secure Weaver’s interest in signing on for the sequel (though not without a few notes of her own). Before production could commence, there was another delay involving a dispute over her salary, which prompted the studio to ask Cameron to produce an ‘alternate’ Aliens script that didn’t include Ripley — which he flat-out refused to do. When Weaver’s agent learned about Cameron’s position, he used it as leverage to get Weaver a $1 million payday, the highest of any actress at the time.
That was a considerable raise from the $35,000 she was paid for the first Alien movie.