Deadline reports that a prequel to 1976’s The Omen, entitled The First Omen, is slated for a wide theatrical release early next year. Though theatrical releases are being handled on a day-by-day basis in the aftermath of the recently resolved SAG-AFTRA strike, The First Omen is expected to premiere on April 5 2024.
The First Omen Is Already Completed
The movie will be distributed by 20th Century Studios. Filming for the upcoming prequel completed in August 2022 long before the strikes took place, so barring any other unexpected obstacles, the release date should stand as is.
The Omen was released in 1976 to mixed reviews, but was a resounding commercial success.
Earning nearly $61 million (adjusted for inflation) at the box office against its reported modest budget of $2.8 million, the Richard Donner-directed film spawned a franchise including three sequels, and a 2006 remake bearing the same title.
Origin Story For The Omen
And now that The First Omen has been confirmed, we’ll finally get the origin story to the whole saga that we’ve all been dying to see.
Set before the events that took place in the first film, The First Omen will take place in Rome, and center on a conspiracy to bring about the birth of the Antichrist.
Whether the attempt is successful and leads to the conception of Damien, or fails to be fully realized in this prequel remains to be seen.
The First Omen Tale
But it goes without question that through the use of retroactive continuity, we’ll be presented with a harrowing tale of theological deception that provides insight into the inner workings of the Catholic church within the franchise’s constructs.
The First Omen will star Ralph Ineson (The Northman) as Father Brennan, and the cast will also include Nell Tiger Free (Servant), Tawfeek Barhom (Mary Magdalene), Sônia Braga (Kiss of the Spider Woman), and Bill Nighy (Living) in undisclosed roles.
Adding More To The Omen Franchise
Based on the characters that were established by David Seltzer in The Omen, the story was developed by Ben Jacoby (Bleed), and the screenplay was penned by Tim Smith, Arkasha Stevenson, and Keith Thomas. Thomas most recently directed the 2022 remake of 1984’s Firestarter.
As is typical with a number of horror franchises, the Omen sequels that we were offered up to this point in time were all commercially successful, but left a lot to be desired on the critical front.
The Omen Is A Horror Classic
But if The First Omen makes use of the franchise’s lore, and remains faithful to the source material that was presented in the original film, we may finally get a prequel that lives up to its predecessor.
We all know by now that The Omen has become a horror classic since its 1976 release, and currently has an 84 percent critical score against an 80 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. 1991’s Omen IV: The Awakening, on the other hand, is sitting in the trenches with a 17 percent critical score.
Breaking The Critical Decline?
The First Omen can very well be the film that breaks the franchise’s ill-fated critical decline that we’ve seen over the decades, and we can’t wait to see the events that transpired prior to the original film upon its April 4 2024 release.