Universal Confirms Plans to Make Sequels for 'Mama' and 'Identity Thief'
Universal Pictures has already set sequel treatments for two of its successful releases this year, "Mama" and "Identity Thief". Screen Daily reports that the development for the "Mama" sequel is already in the early phase and the studio also plans to make the Guillermo del Toro-produced thriller a potential franchise.
Starring Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain, "Mama" has so far grossed $89.2 million worldwide with 43 territory openings are still coming, including in Germany, U.K., France, Australia, Russia, Brazil, Japan and Italy. Universal's president of international distribution David Kosse says that the prospects of a sequel are good.
"We think there's potential for a Mama franchise," Kosse announces. "We'd like to do another one. But those conversations are in the early stages. Mama is the first of this type of model that we've had enormous success with so there are more opportunities for this kind of film."
In a different interview, Universal chairman Adam Fogelson confirms to The Hollywood Reporter that the studio will develop a follow-up to "Identity Thief" after it is proven successful. The R-rated comedy starring Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman pockets a total domestic gross of $70.9 million only in two weeks.
"Absolutely a conversation that we're having," Fogelson says of the plan. He adds that the sequel will likely reunite McCarthy and Bateman, saying, "We think we created great characters, so we'll discuss how to re-pair Jason and Melissa going forward."
Fogelson also gives updates on Universal's other sequel projects, including a follow-up to "The Bourne Legacy" and a yet-to-be-titled Snow White and the Huntsman sequel. Despite the box office disappointment of the last "Bourne" flick, the studio still wants to move forward with another installment in the franchise.
"The point of the last movie was to create a universe, a world and characters that give us a lot of freedom and flexibility in how we go forward. Yeah, the movie didn't perform the way the last one did. It also didn't cost what the last one did," Fogelson explains.
"It performed more along the lines of how the first one did. I absolutely see us doing more Bourne, 100 percent yes. Matt has talked about the possibility of coming back, and we totally respect that and are excited if and when he wants to have conversations. But I think the last movie gave us a big bunch of options to pursue a next chapter."
As for the "Snow White" sequel, Fogelson reveals, "We're actively developing the movie right now with Kristen [Stewart]'s character central, as well as the Huntsman role. We think that for a first movie out of the gate to do basically $400 million worldwide, there is a lot of opportunity. I don't think [director] Rupert [Sanders] is pursuing the next Snow White as a directing opportunity."
Another highly-anticipated film from Universal is none other than "Fifty Shades of Grey". While the project still hasn't tapped a director and sealed any actors, the studio already plans to release the steamy movie sometime in 2014. Fogelson, however, stresses that the studio doesn't feel the needs to rush things.
"I don't believe that [author EL James] had any interest in going to a studio where rushing it into production was the vision," he says. "I don't believe that the second or third film would have benefited from that strategy. And I think that there are totally legitimate questions about what this book is as a movie. I will tell you that it is an absolute priority for us. It's conceivable that we could be ready to release it as early as next summer."
When asked to confirm rumors that Angelina Jolie is eyed to helm the much-talked-about movie, Fogelson claims, "No. We're involved in a different project [the World War II drama Unbroken] with her. But we have had really, really interesting, great conversations with talented, serious filmmakers."
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