Pitch Black (film)

Pitch Black (film)
Pitch Black

Theatrical poster
Directed by David Twohy
Produced by Tom Engelman
Written by Story:
Jim Wheat
Ken Wheat
Jim Wheat
Ken Wheat
David Twohy
Starring Vin Diesel
Radha Mitchell
Cole Hauser
Lewis Fitz-Gerald
Claudia Lee Black
Keith David
Music by Graeme Revell
Cinematography David Eggby
Editing by Rick Shaine
Studio PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
Interscope Communications
Distributed by USA theatrical:
USA Films
All other rights:
Universal Pictures
Release date(s) February 18, 2000 (2000-02-18)
Running time Original release:
109 minutes
Director's Cut:
112 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $23 million
Box office $53,187,659

Pitch Black (also known as The Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black) is a 2000 science fiction thriller film directed by David Twohy and starring Vin Diesel. The film costars 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 flying alien creatures begin attacking the survivors, Riddick joins forces with the crew to develop a plan to escape the planet.

The film's total budget was estimated to be US$23 million. Despite mixed reviews from critics, it was a sleeper hit, grossing over US$53 million worldwide. It has since developed its own cult following, particularly around the antihero Riddick. A sequel, The Chronicles of Riddick, was released in 2004.


Plot summary

In the distant future, the transport ship Hunter-Gratzner, and its crew and passengers in cryo-stasis chambers, pass through a comet's tail while on autopilot. Debris from the comet rupture the hull and kill 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 crash land the ship on a nearby planet. During the landing however, she attempts to dump the passenger compartment, which would kill all of the passengers in order to save the ship and herself. But Owens stops her, sacrificing himself to an extremely painful death. Fry assumes command of the survivors, who thank her for saving them, much to her own guilt. Among the survivors are a Muslim Imam (Keith David), a young boy named Jack (Rhiana Griffith), and William J. Johns (Cole Hauser), who claims to be a cop that had been holding a convict Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel), who appears to have escaped after the crash. The survivors decide to investigate the planet, watching for Riddick. The planet is a dry, dead desert, its three suns keeping the surface in perpetual daylight.

Fry confides in Johns her guilt for trying to dump the passengers, while Riddick watches from the shadows. Additionally, they encounter a mass grave of a large indigenous life form, and compare the site to an elephant graveyard on Earth. They wonder at their demise and feel that not all is as it seems on the planet. Eventually, the survivors discover a nearby abandoned geological research settlement and find a supply of water and a spaceship they can use to escape from the planet. However, they discover that they lack the power cells needed to start it up. Meanwhile, Riddick appears to be everywhere at once, spying on the survivors until one of them named Zeke (John Moore) is suddenly and brutally killed while investigating a nearby cave. As the others rush to the scene but cannot find a body, the commotion proves enough to give away Riddick, and Johns captures him and chains him inside the wreckage of the Gratzner. Riddick is blamed for Zeke's death and Fry goes to the cave to search for Zeke's body, but instead, discovers a group of aggressive predatory creatures which appear to be indigenous to the planet. It proves to be an encounter which she barely escapes. Realizing that the creatures must have killed Zeke, Fry decides that there are far greater dangers on the planet than the threat Riddick may potentially pose, and she has Johns release him to join the survivors. Riddick and Johns share a moment of deep mutual hatred, but realize that they must put aside their differences for the time being. Jack, however, takes a liking to Riddick and starts to dress and talk like him hoping to become as ruthless as he is, much to Riddick's amusement.

The creatures are found to have slaughtered the geological station's scientists, but can survive only in darkness, so emerge only once every twenty-two years during a one-month eclipse. Realizing that the eclipse is about to begin, the survivors struggle to leave the planet in time. Riddick warns Fry that no one is who they really seem to be. He reveals that Johns is actually a mercenary wanting to bring Riddick in for money, and that fear will tear the survivors apart. Fry is loath to trust a vicious criminal like Riddick, but his claims prove true and she confronts Johns, discovering that he is also addicted to morphine stolen from the ship which could have lessened Owen's agony before his death. Johns counters with the fact that Fry selfishly planned to dump all the passengers to save herself. Clouded with doubt and guilt, she leads the survivors back to the Hunter Gratzner.

As they collect the power cells from the ship, the eclipse starts and the aliens begin to emerge from the underground caves. Fry and Johns butt heads until finally she convinces the group to collect as many sources of light as possible to embark on an impossible trek back to the settlement. Using the light to keep the creatures at bay, they set out towards the settlement. But as Riddick predicted, the group begins to tear itself apart and the creatures claim many of the survivors. As the situation worsens, the group find themselves trusting and relying on Riddick. Through illegal surgery he had on his eyes which makes it possible for Riddick to see perfectly in total darkness, Riddick takes command and guides the remaining survivors on foot. Things look hopeful for the group until Riddick realizes that Jack is actually a girl and has just started her menstrual cycle, meaning the creatures had been tracking them by smelling her blood the entire time. Jack collapses in shame, claiming she thought it was better that they think she was a boy so she could be taken seriously by the survivors.

Riddick decides to press onwards and Johns joins him at the front of the group, suggesting killing Jack to bait the creatures away from them, inciting Riddick to rage. Riddick wounds Johns and leaves him for bait. Riddick leads them through a narrow canyon, but the group suffers more casualties until only Imam, Jack and Fry remain. Riddick leaves them in a nearby cave under the guise of protecting them, as he takes the power cells the rest of the way. The group then happens to discover bioluminescent slug-like creatures in the cave that will keep the predators at bay. In an attempt to save them all, Fry chases after Riddick using the light from the worms, and finds him ready to take the escape craft by himself.

Shocked to discover that Riddick intended to abandon them all along, she begs Riddick to come back to lead Imam and Jack to safety, but instead Riddick offers that Fry join him, and they leave together. Struggling with the decision, Fry finally makes a choice and wrestles Riddick to the ground where she reveals that she would die rather than abandon them again, a truth which impresses Riddick and sways him. Riddick and Fry return to the cave, and the group run back to the ship, with the exception of Riddick who is ambushed by the creatures. Fry rushes to save him but at the cost of her life, profoundly affecting Riddick by her sacrifice. Returning to the ship, Riddick takes off with Imam and Jack, waiting for the last possible minute to kill as many of the creatures as possible in the ship's engine blast in revenge for Fry. As they are leaving the planet, Riddick indicates that if bounty-hunters or law enforcers ask about him:

"Tell 'em Riddick's dead. He died somewhere on that planet."



Pitch Black opened in 1,832 theaters on 18 February 2000, grossing US$11,577,688 over its opening weekend and ranking #4 at the box office. The film has a domestic gross of US$39,240,659 and a foreign gross of US$13,947,000, giving it a worldwide total of US$53,187,659.

On its release, the film was met with mainly mixed reviews, and it received a 55% rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 101 reviews with an average rating of 5.6/10 (with a 36% approval rating from top critics).

Related works

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.

As of 2011, a live-action sequel to The Chronicles of Riddick is in development with both David Twohy and Vin Diesel attached. The sequel will tie in more closely to the original 'Pitch Black', according to sources.[1]

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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