As the summer movie season begins to wrap up, the sequel train has begun rolling for a few of the summer's big hits. Here are some updates on those projects and a few other interesting nuggets:
The Expendables 2: As mentioned here last week, a sequel to The Expendables would likely be queued up if it had a successful opening weekend. After opening in the #1 spot with almost $35 million, it must be safe to consider it a success considering the wide variety of financiers for the $82 million budgeted feature. Ben Fritz at the Los Angeles Times broke down the financing saying:
The Expendables cost $82 million to produce, of which a little more than $50 million was covered by foreign pre-sales through financier Avi Lerner's Millennium Films, about $10 million from his NuImage Films, and about $20 million from Lionsgate, which bought distribution rights in the United States, Canada and Great Britain.
Independent studio Lionsgate also spent nearly $40 million on domestic marketing as pre-release surveys and screenings indicated the film had big box office potential, a bet that appears to have paid off. Though male-oriented action films tend to disappear from theaters quickly, Expendables should end up grossing at least $80 million and generate some much-needed profits for the studio's theatrical business as management fights a takeover bid by investor Carl Icahn.
So $80 million domestically and considering Rambo did $70 million in the foreign market I'd say we have a success. As for that sequel, Stallone went as far as to call The Expendables one of the most exciting moments in his career so he's definitely ready. Here's what he told The Hollywood Reporter's Carl DiOrio when asked if he already has a script written for the sequel:
It's plotted out in my mind's eye. I believe this group has to continue to evolve; it just can't become the same people. So how do you get new people introduced into the group, and how do you have some of the other people leaving? Those are the challenges.
So, it sounds like at least a few new badasses will be joining the crew for the sequel. Who would you like to see as the next expendable? Dwayne Johnson? Kurt Russell? Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson? Let's hear some creative suggestions in the comments.
Salt 2: The ingredients are starting to come together for a sequel to the Angelina Jolie spy thriller as writer Kurt Wimmer is said to have some ideas for advancing the story. Director Phillip Noyce is also reportedly interested in returning, but was the audience hungry enough for the first installment to warrant a sequel?
Worldwide grosses are sitting at a respectable $186 million ($103 million domestic) with the film still to open in several foreign markets (including the U.K. and Germany), but they're working on a lofty budget of $110 million. That budget will likely go up for the sequel (unless a lot of it had to do with development and rewrites after Jolie replaced Tom Cruise), but with an established name a second installment should also draw a larger audience assuming it satisfies the appetites of the home video audience. The tough part (launching a new franchise) is seemingly done, but they'll have a hard time coming up with a tagline that draws as much intrigue as "Who is Salt?"
As for Jolie's involvement, she told press at Monday's London premiere when asked if there will be a sequel, "I hope so, for everybody - if they want to see more of Salt... I love doing action. I love to punch things, jump off things and shoot, so I'm lucky I got the job." [The L.A. Times]
Wolverine 2: Hugh Jackman has backed out of his lead role in the comedy Avon Man, opting instead to concentrate on getting in shape for Wolverine 2. Jackman will still serve as producer on the Kevin Lima (Enchanted) directed comedy about laid-off auto workers who resort to becoming Avon salesmen. This news could indicate that Fox is getting Wolverine 2 ready for production next year. No director is attached, but Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) is writing a script that tells a samurai story set in Japan. Jackman will next be seen in the robot boxing movie Real Steel and could still make a stop in Selma, where he would play sheriff Jim Clark, who arrests Martin Luther King Jr. in the Lee Daniels (Precious) Civil Rights drama. [Deadline]
Black Dynamite: Writer/star Michael Jai White has plans for a sequel that will pick up right where the 2009 cult comedy hit left off. "You know how Black Dynamite just grows in ridiculousness? Well, this will be a fitting sequel" he explains. For those unfamiliar, Black Dynamite is a spoof/homage of 1970s blaxploitation films and a bit of a passion project for White since these are the types of films he grew up on. I loved the original's devotion to authenticity, so let's hope he can come up with a sequel that feels as fresh and funny. [Mirror]