Are Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions positioning last summer’s breakout hit The Purge as the first installment in a long-lasting, low-budgeted horror franchise (à la Paranormal Activity)? That’s certainly my first impression after learning that a sequel to the horror-thriller hit has been set for release next summer.
Universal and Blumhouse’s obvious enthusiasm for a Purge series is understandable. The first film, released last June, grossed over $89 million on a minuscule $3 million budget, essentially chump change to a major Hollywood studio like Universal. Such a tiny budget, large haul and quick turn-around time bodes extremely well for the series’ longevity. Additionally, the chances of a successful sequel would appear high, as James DeMonaco has agreed to return in the same writer-director capacity he held on the first Purge.
The sequel is currently being referred to as, “The next chapter of The Purge” by Universal. No cast has yet been announced, though the conclusion of the first film suggests that original stars Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey will not be reprising their roles.
What would seem to make more sense, from my perspective, would be for DeMonaco and co. to follow the misfortunes of a different family on the night of the Purge. The first film touched upon the nationwide nature of the Purge with surveillance footage during the opening scenes, but there’s certainly more to be explored about the origins and consequences of a day when all crime deemed legal by the government.
One factor that no one involved with the project seems to be too concerned about is The Purge‘s mixed-to-negative reception from critics and audiences. The film’s short length and slightly derivative plot only earned it a middling CinemaScore rating of C.
In addition to DeMonaco, Blumhouse Productions’ Jason Blum, Sébastien K. Lemercier and Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form are all returning to produce the sequel.
The sequel to The Purge will arrive on June 20th, 2014, just over a year after the June 7th, 2013, release of the original film.
Are you excited for this horror-thriller sequel, or was the first film’s hook only enough to support one film? Sound off in the comments section.