It’s a sequel epidemic! In a bold announcement, Columbia Pictures’ President Doug Belgrad revealed to THR that the studio has plans to follow-up two of the year’s biggest hits – 21 Jump Street and Men in Black 3 – with sequels, adapt the second book in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, The Girl Who Played with Fire and remake 1995’s smash hit Jumanji.
After 21 Jump Street roped in a huge $138.4 million domestically this Spring (garnering great reviews in the process), speculation was high that we would get a return from Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as our favourite undercover nitwits. A script by Michael Bacall is already underway and could go into production as early as the Fall, though directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller may be busy with Lego: The Piece of Resistance if that timeframe sticks.
Men in Black 3, on the other hand, was plagued with production, budget and script issues throughout its shoot, but still managed $615 million worldwide. The fact that they’re chatting a fourth entry in the sci-fi franchise must mean that they have (or soon will) turn a profit on the pricey blockbuster. Belgrad considers it “an ongoing franchise” and “doesn’t have clarity yet on how it should be done” (if it should be at all). Pretty much, it’s all going to come down to Will Smith and if he wants to return. If he says no, consider the franchise dead.
In a bit of more encouraging news, Columbia is “pushing ahead” with The Girl Who Played with Fire. The remake of the Swedish version was only a moderate success financially, but the quality of the film itself makes a good argument for a continuation.
Both Mara and Daniel Craig are expected to join on for “Fire” with scribe Steve Zaillian already having completed the script. What hasn’t been confirmed is if David Fincher will return to direct but seeing as he only has TV series House of Cards on deck (no pun intended), his reappearance is certainly in the realm of possibility. Frankly, I would be considerably less enthusiastic if the Oscar-nominee did not sign on for the sequel.
Finally – and the latest in the remake-nobody-asked-for saga – a remake of 1995 adventure-comedy Jumanji is on the docket which would seek to “update it for the present.” Jumanji still holds up extremely well today and still has enough oomph to scare kids for generations to come, so a remake at all (let alone so soon) is just insulting. Plus, didn’t they already try this with the 2005 flop Zathura?
So there you have it, four projects from Columbia Pictures that range from interesting to downright shameful. Which of these prospects (if any) pique your curiosity?