Pitch Black (film)
U.S. theatrical poster
|Directed by||David Twohy|
|Produced by||Tom Engelman|
|Screenplay by||Jim Wheat
|Story by||Jim Wheat
|Music by||Graeme Revell|
|Editing by||Rick Shaine|
|Studio||PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
|Distributed by||USA Films
|Running time||109 minutes|
In the film, dangerous criminal Richard B. Riddick (Diesel) is being transported to prison in a cargo spacecraft. When the spaceship is damaged by comet debris and makes an emergency crash landing on an empty desert planet, Riddick escapes. However, when predatory alien creatures begin attacking the survivors, Riddick joins forces with the surviving crew and other passengers to develop a plan to escape the planet.
Pitch Black was the final film credit of PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, which merged with Universal Pictures during production. It was shot on a modest budget of $23 million USD. Despite mixed reviews from critics, it was a sleeper hit, grossing over $53 million USD worldwide and developing its own cult following, particularly around the antihero Riddick. A sequel, The Chronicles of Riddick, was released in 2004 by Universal, with Diesel back as the title character, and Twohy returning as writer and director. After an animated third film, a fourth live-action film simply entitled Riddick was released in 2013, with Diesel and Twohy reuniting again.
In the distant future, the transport ship Hunter-Gratzner passes through a comet tail while on autopilot with its crew and passengers in cryo-stasis chambers. The comet debris cloud ruptures the hull, killing some of the crew. The rest of the crew, including docking pilot Carolyn Fry and her co-pilot Greg Owens, attempt to land the ship on a nearby planet. Fry tries to dump the passenger section of the ship to reduce their weight and give her a better chance of landing. Owens stops her from doing it but is killed when the ship crash lands. Fry joins the surviving ten passengers, among them an Imam, a law enforcement officer named William J. Johns, and a young boy named Jack. Johns was tasked with escorting escaped prisoner Richard B. Riddick back to prison.
The group gathers up supplies and begins exploring their surroundings. Tension runs high after Riddick escapes and Johns warns everyone that Riddick may kill them all. The group soon notices that the three suns surrounding the planet keep it in perpetual daylight, and they begin searching for water. One of the survivors goes missing, and while searching for him Fry accidentally discovers photosensitive creatures underground that are swift hunters. The group decides to walk across the desert looking for water and supplies. They come across an abandoned geological research settlement, with supplies of water and an emergency dropship with drained batteries. In the coring room at the settlement they discover more creatures, and one of Imam's children is killed. The group also discovers a model showing that very soon the planet will be eclipsed for an extended period of time and the creatures will be free to hunt above ground. Riddick rejoins the group and they all agree to go back to the crash site and retrieve the power cells from the downed ship, which will then be used to power the escape ship. Riddick talks to Fry privately and reveals that Johns is actually a drug addicted mercenary.
The group reaches the wreckage to collect the power cells, but the eclipse begins before they can return to the settlement. The creatures begin pouring out of the ground, killing another survivor. The rest of the group holes up in the wreckage and plans their next move. Inside, the creatures kill another of Imam's kids. The group decides to salvage any light source they can and create a caravan to return to the dropship. Riddick agrees to lead them since he can see in the dark. After Imam notices they have crossed their own tracks, the group stops and Riddick reveals that the creatures hunt by blood and that Jack is bleeding. The others don't understand until Riddick reveals that Jack is a female and her menses scent has attracted the creatures. Johns pulls Riddick aside and offers him a deal; if Riddick kills Jack and uses her as bait to lure the creatures away, Johns will report that Riddick died in the crash and let him go. Instead, Riddick severely wounds Johns and uses him as the bait. The others make a run for it, but only Fry, Jack, Riddick, and Imam make it to a cave near the ship. Riddick seals them in with a large stone and takes the power cells to the settlement. Inside the cave their light goes out but they discover bio-luminescent worms, which they stuff in bottles to use as light. Fry leaves the cave and finds Riddick powering up the ship to leave without them. She pleads with him to help her rescue Imam and Jack, but instead he offers to take her with him. Finally Fry convinces Riddick to go back, but not before she is killed by the creatures. Riddick retrieves Imam and Jack and takes them to the ship, where they flee the planet. In orbit, Riddick tells Jack to say that he died on the planet below.
- Radha Mitchell as Carolyn Fry
- Vin Diesel as Richard B. Riddick
- Cole Hauser as William J. Johns
- Keith David as Abu 'Imam' al-Walid
- Lewis Fitz-Gerald as Paris P. Ogilvie
- Claudia Black as Sharon 'Shazza' Montgomery
- Rhiana Griffith as Jack / Jackie
- John Moore as John 'Zeke' Ezekiel
- Simon Burke as Greg Owens
- Les Chantery as Suleiman
- Sam Sari as Hassan
- Firass Dirani as Ali
- Ric Anderson as Total Stranger
- Vic Wilson as Captain Tom Mitchell
- Angela Moore as Dead Crew Member
Pitch Black was re-released on DVD in 2004 as The Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black. It was released on Blu-ray on March 31, 2009. The disc contains the theatrical edition and an unrated director's cut edition, containing 2 more minutes of extra material.
Pitch Black opened in 1,832 theaters on 18 February 2000, grossing $11,577,688 over its opening weekend and ranking 4th at the box office. The film has a domestic gross of $39,240,659 and a foreign gross of $13,947,000, giving it a worldwide total of $53,187,659.
Awards and nominations
|2000||Saturn Award||Best Science Fiction Film||Pitch Black||Nominated|
|2001||Australian Cinematographers Society Award||Cinematographer of the Year||David Eggby||Won|
|Blockbuster Entertainment Award||Favorite Actor - Horror||Vin Diesel||Nominated|
|Bram Stoker Award||Best Screenplay||David Twohy, Jim Wheat and Ken Wheat||Nominated|
|International Horror Guild Award||Best Movie||Pitch Black||Nominated|
The movie's sequel, The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), was also directed by David Twohy. A short animated movie released the same year, The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury (2004), was directed by Peter Chung. Dark Fury bridges the gap between Pitch Black and Chronicles of Riddick.
To tie-in with the sequel, the film was novelized under the name The Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black. The novel was written by Frank Lauria.
In 2000, a prequel to Pitch Black was released named Into Pitch Black, which was supposed to be a documentary film. The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, a game for the Xbox and the PC, was also released in 2004 to critical acclaim. A remake of Butcher Bay, including a new campaign, was released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on 7 April 2009, under the title The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Pitch Black|
- Official movie website
- Pitch Black at the Internet Movie Database
- Pitch Black at AllMovie
- Pitch Black at the TCM Movie Database
- "Vin Diesel of Pitch Black" at the Wayback Machine (archived June 7, 2004). (Online chat transcript) SciFi.com, February 16, 2000. Archived from the original on June 16, 2004; and Part 2 at the Wayback Machine (archived June 14, 2004), February 24, 2000. Archived from the original on June 14, 2004.