When Sony Pictures Entertainment released Escape Room into the world in 2019, few people outside of the film’s creative team could have predicted its enormous success. Produced on a reported $9 million budget, the claustrophobically challenging horror film went on to gross $155 million, as audiences dialed in to the intricate puzzles and escape-room thrills set up by director Adam Robitel. A sequel was inevitable -- heck, Escape Room literally ends with the promise of a new game starting up. And now Sony has revealed to CinemaBlend exclusively that the follow-up film will be called Escape Room: Tournament of Champions, with a premise that promises to expand on the world.
The original Escape Room introduced six strangers who are invited by a mysterious host to participate in an escape room challenge where the threats are real and the traps are lethal. By the end of the story, Zoey (Taylor Russell) and Ben (Logan Miller) were the last ones standing, and the company behind the deadly game, Minos, launched an elaborate cover up to make the survivors look like liars. It’s here where Adam Robitel tells CinemaBlend that Escape Room: Tournament of Champions will pick up its story thread and build on the world that has been introduced. Robitel tells us:
What we're going to find out is that though we had an insular view in the first movie of just Zoe's story, what we're going to realize is that on any given day, there are multiple games happening all around the world. Ben and Zoe are going to quickly realize that there are some other people in this movie, other characters who've also been through the games and suddenly now it's sort of like a game of champions. They've all played the game before. It’s sort of a meditation on trauma, and how people deal with trauma. But also, what they’ve learned through their first trial by fire.
Returning to Escape Room: Tournament of Champions are original stars Taylor Russell and Logan Miller, though their vicious experiences in the first Escape Room will drastically change who they are, as characters. Russell’s Zoey, in particular, has shed her mousy demeanor, and is now hellbent on obtaining some sort of evidence that Minos exists, and is manipulating innocent people through its games.
Once Zoey and Ben enter this Tournament of Champions, they’ll be teamed with (or pitted against) new players who have survived similar, deadly games on their own. This gives Adam Robitel and his team the chance to shake up the Escape Room formula by injecting unexpected personalities into his mix… while also inventing new individuals he can send to their grisly demise. When asked to elaborate on Zoey and Ben’s new “teammates” in Escape Room: Tournament of Champions, Robitel said:
What I try to do is set up questions for each of them, like I did in the first movie. We’re leaning into, ‘Why does this person have a scar?’ And ‘Why is this guy seemingly reading the last rights to somebody?’ There's one character who has a very odd physical -- not malady, but like an anomalous immune system, and so there's weird things that happen with pain. And so we're setting up all these questions (proving) that they're not your average characters. They each have a little mystery that speaks to the games that they went through.
We pushed Adam Robitel a bit on the identity of The Puzzle Maker, the mysterious force constructing these elaborate escape rooms to challenge and punish specific individuals for distinct reasons. And while he promised some “breadcrumbs” that could point audiences toward the person’s identity, he’s keeping that information close to his vest. Still, Escape Room: Tournament of Champions will deliver some peeks behind the curtain so fans can learn more about how Minos controls and manipulates its human targets.
But you’ll have to go to a theater to see Escape Room: Tournament of Champions, because this horror movie is not going to streaming, and prefers to terrify audiences who are ready to sit in the dark and be unnerved. As Robitel explained to CinemaBlend:
The Latin root of the word horror means ‘to bristle on the back of the neck.’ It's the one genre that has a physical and physiological influence over the audience. It's manipulating them. People love to be afraid in groups. They love to go on dates, to scream and grab their popcorn.
So grab your popcorn and prepare for the anticipated sequel Escape Room: Tournament of Champions, which will land in movie theaters on July 16. While you are at it, follow Escape Room on Twitter, where the movie will be launching a thread of puzzles to solve later today in honor of National Scavenger Hunt Day! Let’s see if you can escape! And make sure that you are checking our Movie Release Calendar because several dates for anticipated 2021 films have shifted, and we keep it as up to date as possible.