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Back in 2017, David Leitch's Atomic Blonde turned out to be what could be called a "quiet hit." The film didn't have a blockbuster start, opening in fourth place behind Dunkirk, Girls Trip, and The Emoji Movie with a take of just $18 million domestically, but by the end of its worldwide run it had successfully become a nine-figure release – which was extra significant given that the project was made with a reported $30 million budget.
That money arguably justifies a follow-up, and the director expressed great enthusiasm for an Atomic Blonde 2 in the run up to the release, but the project has not yet started really turning its gears and moving toward the production stage. Don't fret, however, as star Charlize Theron still has hopes for the sequel, and has confirmed that work is still being done to make it happen.
The Oscar-winning actress is currently promoting her latest action feature, Gina Prince-Bythewood's The Old Guard, and while talking to The Hollywood Reporter she provided an update on where things presently stand with Atomic Blonde 2 and the continued adventures of superspy Lorraine Broughton. Asked if there was any good news to report, Theron said,
We’re in the development stages right now, and that’s the one thing that lockdown has been good for — being able to develop with writers over Zoom. So, we’re actively developing [an Atomic Blonde sequel] right now.
Perhaps not the most encouraging update, as it does still seem like we are probably a few years away from seeing the project come together, but it is exciting to hear Charlize Theron acknowledge that development is at least active. Furthermore, it's nice to know that the filmmakers are taking advantage of the "downtime" during social distancing to really focus on the writing process and cracking the right story – which is something that will hopefully wind up benefiting all on-going franchises in the industry.
Prior to this update, the last news we heard about Atomic Blonde 2 came at during the summer last year when David Leitch noted in an interview promoting the release of Hobbs & Shaw that there were conversations happening that would potentially see the sequel released on a streaming service. That's something interesting to consider when you factor in that The Old Guard is a Netflix movie, meaning that they are already in the Charlize Theron action business.
One reason that it may be a good thing that Atomic Blonde 2 isn't coming together super quickly is that it seems like David Leitch's schedule is going to be pretty full in the second half of 2020. It was reported last month that he had signed on to direct the new action movie Bullet Train, and just a couple days ago Brad Pitt signed on to star, with the plan being to start filming in a few months. It would be a bummer to see Leitch be unable to return for the Atomic Blonde sequel because of a scheduling conflict, as he has demonstrated a lot of flair as a director, so hopefully that's a project he can go back to when Bullet Train is completed.
For those of you who are feeling impatient waiting for Atomic Blonde 2, the good news is that The Old Guard should do a sufficient job temporarily scratching the itch, and you'll be able to catch it very soon. The film drops on Netflix this Friday – and be sure to stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for stories from my interviews with the cast and filmmakers.