David Fincher's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo doesn't qualify as a flop, but it certainly was considered a box office disappointment. Released right around Christmas in 2011 - which many have criticized as a mistake because of the film's dark content - the adaptation came in third place during its opening weekend, and after a few months in theaters its domestic total went up to only $102 million (not super great for a film that cost a reported $90 million before marketing). This under-performance seriously slowed any and all franchise talk and conversations about adapting the sequel - The Girl Who Played With Fire. In his heart, however, it seems that David Fincher is not only not willing to give up on Lisbeth Salander and friends, but also has a prepared a very altered future lying ahead for them
With Gone Girl now only a couple weeks away from release, the Fight Club director has been doing the global press rounds, and while in Stockholm and speaking to Afton Bladet (via Film Divider), he dropped some interesting quotes about the progress for The Girl Who Played With Fire. Basically, his faith in the project exists because he believes Sony has already sunk too much money in to it, and the only way to make any money back on their investment is to actually make a film. This may sound like the absolute worst way for a project to advance through development, but the good news is that the Oscar nominated filmmaker has a great deal of faith in work that has already been put into it - which apparently involves deviating from the book by deceased author Stieg Larsson. Said Fincher (roughly translated from Swedish),
"I think because it [Sony] already has spent millions of dollars on the rights and the script so it will result in something. The script that we now have a huge potential, I can reveal as much as it is extremely different from the book."
We have really not heard anything about The Girl Who Played With Fire's progression since July 2013 when it was revealed that Se7en screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker has reworking the material that had already been produced by Steve Zaillian (who wrote Fincher's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo). Previously there had been talks about Daniel Craig being written out of the project, but that story was less about creative direction and more about the Skyfall star's feelings that he deserved more money (plus co-star Rooney Mara did her part to dismiss those rumors entirely).
What's kind of funny about Fincher saying The Girl Who Played With Fire's story has changed is that the comments are coming just shortly after a Gone Girl controversy about the exact same subject. In January, there were quotes from Fincher that spread around the internet suggesting that the end of Gillan Flynn's Gone Girl novel had been completely changed for its big screen adaptation (also written by Flynn). The author herself did her part to downplay what Fincher had said this past spring, and last month the director said that he was misquoted from the get-go. Let's hope that doesn't end up happening with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo sequel down the line.
In order for that to actually happen, however, The Girl Who Played With Fire actually needs to move forward in development, which it hasn't really been doing recently. As a fan of Fincher's adaptation, I do hope that his version of Stieg Larsson's book comes together eventually, and sooner would certainly be better than later.