Universal Studios appears content to stay in the sequel and franchise businesses for the immediate future, laying out plans for part twos of popular Uni movies and teasing reboots of films that failed at first but could be re-energized with fresh, creative voices.
Not that Universal is immune to franchises at the moment. The studio is prepping a second Despicable Me and a sixth Fast and the Furious movie for this summer, and has had success in the past with Bourne and Mummy movies, to name just two. But The Hollywood Reporter’s interview with current Universal Studios Chairman Adam Fogelson -- where he tipped his hand to the progress of the Fifty Shades of Grey adaptation – is turning into a wealth of information when it comes to future projects based on familiar properties.
For example, Fogelson confirmed that plans for a second Identity Thief are in the conversation stage. “We think we created great characters, so we'll discuss how to re-pair Jason [Bateman] and Melissa going forward,” he said. He also touched on plans to reboot the studio’s Van Helsing franchise, while also mentioning that The Mummy would be returning to theaters.
Universal monsters are probably the thing people most equate with our library. But monsters are not superheroes. Virtually every monster story is by definition a tragic story. We are developing another Mummy. We are looking at rebooting Van Helsing because I think the idea for the Van Helsing story was a great way of solving the question of, ‘How do you make a blockbuster out of monsters?’”
And that’s not all. During the lengthy conversation, Fogelson touched on the studio’s plans for a screen adaptation of Wicked (in light of the success of the Oscar-nominated Les Miserables) and the future of the Bourne franchise, which he says is “100 percent” ready to move forward. “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. Matt [Damon] 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.”
The plan at Universal seems to involve developing characters who are familiar to audiences already. Good idea? Bad idea? Let us know what you think below.