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 crew 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 US$23 million. Despite mixed reviews from critics, it was a sleeper hit, grossing over US$53 million 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. A third film simply entitled Riddick is planned for 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 the ship and herself, but Owens stops her. The ship crashes on the surface, killing Owens. Fry joins with the surviving passengers, including the Muslim Imam (Keith David), a young boy named Jack (Rhiana Griffith), and William J. Johns (Cole Hauser), who claims to be a cop. Johns discovers that another passenger, the convict Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel), has escaped, and implores the others to help find him.
As they explore the planet, they find it is surrounded by three suns, keeping it in perpetual daylight. They come upon an abandoned human geological research settlement, with supplies of water and a spacecraft they can use to escape the planet, though lacking power cells. They prepare to return to the crashed ship to collect its power cells. When one survivor is killed exploring a nearby cave, Riddick is discovered and captured by Johns. Fry investigates the cave, looking for the body, but instead discovers several living indigenous creatures, vicious winged hunters that can only survive in the dark. Fry believes that the population of the settlement was killed by the creatures, and orders Riddick released, believing him to be a far lesser threat than the creatures. Riddick reveals that Johns is actually a mercenary for hire, and bringing Riddick in for a bounty. As they are about to leave the settlement, they discover that the planet undergoes a month-long eclipse every twenty-two years, due to start shortly.
The group returns to the wreckage of the Hunter-Gratzner and collect the power cells and remaining survivors. The eclipse begins, shrouding the planet in darkness and causing the creatures to 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 before they make their way back to the settlement. Though the group initially works together, the tension breaks them apart, and several of the survivors are killed during the chaos. To make matters worse, Riddick reveals that Jack is a girl and undergoing her menstrual cycle, the scent of blood leading the creatures to them. When Johns suggests using Jack as bait to lure the predators away, Riddick makes the suggestion that they will need bigger bait, initiating a fight between the two which culminates with Riddick wounding Johns, who subsequently is killed by the beasts. Shortly thereafter, with the survivors reduced to Riddick, Fry, Jack, and Imam, and few light sources left, they take shelter in a cave near the settlement where bioluminescent worms keep the creatures at bay. Riddick then seals off the cave temporarily blocking off the creatures from attacking Fry, Jack, and Imam. He then proceeds to go to the ship with the cells and leave the others to fend for themselves.
Fry, attempting to ward off the creatures, discovers Riddick ready to take off in the shuttle by himself, and she begs him to stay, revealing that she had been ready to ditch the other passengers before 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, when she says yes, he relents and returns with her to rescue them. On the way back to the ship, Riddick is injured fighting off the creatures and Fry goes back for him. Just as she has saved him, Fry says "I said I would die for them not for you so get up!", one of the creatures seizes Fry a few seconds later and carries her off into the darkness, as this happens Riddick screams into the darkness "Not for me!!!". Getting to the ship, Riddick hesitates before starting the engine until many of the creatures are around the ship and then fires it up, frying them and getting some revenge for Fry. As they enter space, Riddick tells the others that should they encounter any law enforcement personnel, "Tell 'em Riddick's dead. He died somewhere on that planet."