Is The Forever Purge going to be the last movie in the Purge franchise? There certainly have been reasons to think that it might be. In 2018, following the release of The First Purge, writer James DeMonaco said in an interview that he had an idea for a film that would be a “really cool ending” for the series, and ever since then there has been speculation about whether or not the upcoming fourth sequel would actually be that capstone story.
Now the movie is about to actually come out, but unfortunately the answer to the big question remains as unclear as ever. This is because while James DeMonaco might still be thinking of The Forever Purge as the franchise finale, producer Jason Blum isn’t yet ready to say goodbye to the popular horror brand.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jason Blum earlier this month during The Forever Purge’s recent virtual press day, and my very first question to the filmmaker was about the movie’s status as a potential finale. Blum acknowledged that comments previously made by James DeMonaco, who is credited as the creator of the franchise, and made it very clear that he doesn’t have any interest in making a Purge movie without him – but at the same time he made it very clear that he is not ready to see these films end their run just yet. Said Blum,
James makes noises about this being the last Purge movie, but I will hear nothing of the kind. I am ferociously fighting to have at least one more, hopefully many more. So I would say the answer to your question is it's not yet determined for sure. But if I have anything to do with it, I'm going to try and get a few more out of him. I would never do a Purge movie, though, without James. So if he doesn't want to do it, I'm not going to do anymore.
Unlike The First Purge, which was a prequel set before the events of the original 2013 film, The Forever Purge is a direct sequel to The Purge: Election Year that jumps ahead in the franchise timeline and sees the fascistic New Founding Fathers Of America reclaim power and reinstate the annual 12-hour horror show the series is named after. The big catch this time, however, is that those who very much enjoy the purging process decide that they don’t want to just limit themselves to a single half-day of chaos anymore, and a movement begins nationwide that sees lawlessness and violence continue even after the Purge is officially declared over.
The Forever Purge is the darkest chapter in the series yet, and while it’s ending does keep the door open for more stories to be told (I won’t get any more spoiler-y than that), Jason Blum does respect why James DeMonaco wants to step away. The producer is very proud of the success that the series has had, though, and doesn’t quite want to let it go:
Kidding aside, he's spent a lot of time thinking about this, and it's a dark world so my heart goes out to him. So I get that he's kind of lived it enough. We also have kind of a perfect track record for a franchise. Every movie that we've done, more people have seen the prior movie, and that's very rare. So that's also a lot of pressure. So I get that he may be at the end of his rope, but you know, I'm not accepting that yet.
As recognized by Jason Blum, one strong argument to keep the movies coming is that, when you consider worldwide box office totals, each installment has been more popular and more successful than the last. The Purge made $89.3 million globally when it came out eight years ago, and each of its sequels – The Purge: Anarchy ($111.9 million), The Purge: Election Year ($118.6 million), and The First Purge ($137.1 million) – has made more than its predecessor. When that kind of clear demand exists, why stop?
This then leads to another important question: given the track record, what would define success and worthiness of a sequel for The Forever Purge? The answer is obviously complicated (made more so due to the fact that theaters are still recovering post-2020), but Jason Blum took a crack at explaining it:
The movies have to perform at least relatively close to the prior movie. Doesn't have to be better. It could be worse, but if it's substantially worse it's hard to make a sequel. But as long as we get it within shooting distance of the prior movie, financially you can make another one. But then that's a different story; that's only half the battle. Then I've got to get James to say he wants to do it. Like I said, I wouldn't want to do a Purge movie without James. So we'll see.