Christopher Landon’s Happy Death Day movies are especially fun entries in Blumhouse’s collection of horror offerings. But after 2019’s Happy Death Day 2U performed below expectations, it remains to be seen if Jessica Rothe’s Tree Gelbman will live to see another day. The writer/director has put in the work for a third movie, but he’s dispelled one popular rumor about the project, should it happen.
The original hit movie had Tree reliving an exhausting Groundhog’s Day scenario over and over on her birthday, each time ending with her murder. And in Happy Death Day 2U, everything went all Back To The Future with alternate timelines and such. Many fans have already coined the title as Happy Death Day Tree, because it’s fun wordplay! Here’s what Landon said when he was asked if the title had been discussed:
No. (Laughs.) It wasn’t considered, and it’s funny because I always had this concept of what the third movie would be in my head. So the title really does directly reference what the movie is about. When I saw that the Happy Death Day Tree thing kept popping up, I was like, 'Oh, of course, that’s clever and makes a ton of sense,' but at the same time, part of what I was trying to do with the second movie and definitely what I would love to do with the third is subvert expectation. So I don’t think anyone could possibly imagine where the third movie would go and therefore, I think the title needed to reflect that. So much to fans' disappointment, it is not Happy Death Day Tree. (Laughs.)
Christopher Landon’s running title is Happy Death Day To Us, which he thought up long before rumors of Happy Death Day Tree. As the filmmaker told The Hollywood Reporter, he respects the punny title, calling it "clever," but still wants to use the original title he formulated. Landon said his title actually ties into the plot of the third movie, too! Will the world be collectively plagued by time loops or multiple dimensions? That decision is for Blumhouse to make.
Jason Blum is a huge fan of the series and previously said he’s been working overtime to make it happen. The glaring problem is the sequel made half as much as the original movie, even though, on its own, it did turn a profit.
Landon chocks up Happy Death Day 2U as a “tricky” sell, due to it leaning into a sci-fi bent and slightly moving away from horror. Landon recently moved away from the franchise for a bit to make Freaky, a body-swap slasher starring Kathryn Newton and Vince Vaughn.
Freaky has done well enough for itself during some rather dire circumstances for movie theaters. The movie debuted in theaters last week to overall positive reviews and has since made $6 million worldwide. In December, the movie will debut on VOD as part of Universal’s deal with AMC. When CinemaBlend spoke to one of the film’s stars, Misha Osherovich, they said they are also hoping Freaky gets a sequel. Freaky is in theaters now.