The movie business has always been known for pushing the boundaries of technology, and not every major breakthrough has to involve James Cameron spending a billion dollars on four Avatar sequels. Filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov, who built his career on heavily-stylized action movies, has been pioneering a new technique that takes place on a much smaller scale.
Screenlife is one of the industry’s newest genres, and is based around creating an entire movie using only computer screens, webcams and phone cameras. Not only does it challenge the creative team to come up with interesting and exciting ways to craft unique stories using the limited options available to them, but it can also turn out to be hugely profitable.
Bekmambetov has already produced several hits using Screenlife, with thriller Searching earning over $75 million at the box office on a budget of less than a million dollars, while horror movie Unfriended and the sequel brought in $80 million on combined production costs of just $2 million. However, the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter director has now proposed the idea of making a follow-up to the biggest success of his career using the technology.
Wanted was an action-packed, glossy and star-powered blockbuster that made over $340 million globally back in 2008, and while a sequel has frequently been rumored in the years since, it never got any further than the idea stage. A second outing doesn’t exactly seem like it would lend itself particularly well to Screenlife, but Bekmambetov has an idea for how to make it work.
“Maybe do the Wanted sequel in Screenlife. I cannot imagine an assassin in today’s world would run with a gun. Why? He will use drones, he will use computer technology, probably. You don’t need to bend bullets anymore. You need to bend ideas.”
That’s certainly an interesting pitch, and would be a whole lot cheaper than recruiting the likes of James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman to power their way through a series of high-octane set-pieces in Wanted 2. Whether it happens or not, Screenlife could be here to stay as Hollywood’s latest low risk/high reward enterprise, so why not see if it can be adapted to fit the action genre?