To put it mildly, Oren Peli's Area 51 had an interesting production schedule. It was announced (and first went before the cameras) all the way back in 2009, only to go completely missing until 2013, when it was revealed that reshoots were underway following a 2011 rewrite of Peli's original script. In the time since that, we've been told that we'd all be hearing more about the film "soon," but it wasn't until last month that Blumhouse CEO Jason Blum announced that Peli had completed the film. Again, word on the street was that we'd hear something - namely, something in terms of a release date - "very, very soon."
And holy smokes, Blum wasn't bullshitting! Here's the Area 51-related portion of the press release Paramount sent out this morning:
HOLLYWOOD, CA (April 23, 2015) – Paramount Insurge today announced that “AREA 51” and “DRUNK WEDDING” will receive one-weekend-only limited engagements exclusively at 16 Alamo Drafthouse Cinema locations in May. Additionally, the films will be available day-and-date on VOD and all digital platforms.
“AREA 51” will debut Friday, May 15th and run through Sunday, May 17th with one showtime daily. Tickets are on sale online and at participating Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas box offices beginning Monday, May 11th. The found footage horror film will also be available May 15th on VOD and all digital platforms.
“AREA 51” is directed by Oren Peli, written by Oren Peli and Christopher Denham and produced by Jason Blum and Steven Schneider. The film follows Reid, who has always been obsessed with UFOs. While on a weekend trip to Vegas, he convinces two friends to join him on a mission to break into Area 51, where they find terrifying proof of alien presence. Starring Reid Warner, Jamel King, Ben Rovner and Jelena Nik.
Whoa! In a very short amount of time, we've gone from kinda suspecting that Area 51 might never be released...to learning that the film will be given a limited theatrical release and a VOD release in a matter of weeks. And to top it off, we've got a trailer to gawk at. This movie really does exist! And some of us are going to see it!
As for the trailer, well, it's probably as you expected: found footage, dudes breaking into Area 51 under the cover of night (by the way, I like the wacky spy-tech they're employing to that end), secret underground military facilities and a creature of some sort on the loose. No idea if this film's going to be worth a six-year wait, but at the very least we're finally being given a chance to find out.
More to come on this one, folks. While you're waiting, reflect on all the major life events you've endured/enjoyed in the six years since principal photography began on Area 51.