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
112 minutes (Unrated Director's cut)
Pitch Black (known as The Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black in later home media releases) is a 2000 science fiction thriller film co-written and directed by David Twohy. The film stars Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, and Keith David.
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, with its crew and passengers in cryo-stasis chambers, passes through a comet's tail while on autopilot. Debris from the comet ruptures the hull and kills some of its crew, including the captain. The remaining crew is awakened, and docking pilot Carolyn Fry (Radha Mitchell) and her co-pilot, Greg Owens (Simon Burke), awake in time to attempt to land the ship on a nearby planet. Fry wants to dump the passenger compartment to save herself, but Owens stops her. The ship crashes on the surface, killing Owens. Fry joins with the surviving ten passengers, among them the Muslim Imam (Keith David), a young boy named Jack (Rhiana Griffith), and William J. Johns (Cole Hauser), who appears to be a cop. Johns discovers that the prisoner he is transporting, the convict Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel), has escaped.
The group explores the planet and finds that it is surrounded by three suns that keep it in perpetual daylight. They come upon an abandoned human geological research settlement, with supplies of water and an emergency spacecraft lacking power cells. They plan to return to the crashed ship to collect its power cells, but one survivor is killed before they can. Riddick is discovered and captured by Johns, but in their search for the missing survivor, Fry discovers vicious winged hunters living in a cave that are photosensitive and can only survive in the dark. Johns believes that the population of the settlement was killed by the creatures, and releases Riddick, believing him to be a far lesser threat than the creatures. Riddick reveals that Johns is actually a morphine-addicted mercenary, who had captured him for a bounty. As the group prepares to leave the settlement, they discover that the planet undergoes a month long eclipse every twenty-two years and that the eclipse is about to leave them in darkness, and therefore, vulnerable to the alien creatures.
The group returns to the wreckage to collect the power cells, but before they do so the eclipse begins, and the creatures emerge from their underground dens. Riddick, who has the ability to see in the darkness, takes control, ordering them to collect all the light sources to ward away the creatures. The group initially works together, but the tension causes panic, and several of the survivors are killed. Riddick reveals that Jack is a girl and is currently menstruating; the scent of her blood is leading the creatures to them. Johns suggests using Jack as bait to lure the predators away; Riddick decides on "bigger bait" and a fight breaks out. He badly wounds Johns and leaves him to the creatures. Fry, Jack, and Imam take shelter in a cave near the settlement, which Riddick seals to protect them from the creatures. He then proceeds with the cells.
Fry leaves the safety of the cave to keep Riddick from taking off in the shuttle by himself. She begs him to stay, revealing that she had been ready to ditch the other passengers during the crash to save herself. Riddick initially declines, urging her to go with him. They argue and he asks if she is ready to die for the others, and when she says yes, he relents and returns with her to rescue them. On the way back, Riddick is injured and Fry goes back for him. Just as she finds him, she is impaled by one of the creatures and dragged away. Recognizing her sacrifice, Riddick returns to Imam and Jack, who are waiting in the ship. Riddick waits to start the engines until the outside of the ship is surrounded by creatures, and then fires it up, burning many to death and gaining some measure of justice for Fry. As they enter space, Riddick tells the others that, should they encounter any law enforcement personnel, they should "Tell 'em Riddick's dead. He died somewhere on that planet."
- 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 #4 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.