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Studios used to weigh the pros and cons before getting on with a sequel to a successful film. The question was, is there a story there? And often, there wouldn’t be, which was why a sequel would be expected, but rarer. But in 2014, franchises are all studios have, and every original film is a chance to launch a couple of sequels that they might be able to promote to audiences based not on demand, but familiarity (I MEAN GEEZ). And now, we’re getting two more, so deal with it, sequel-haters.
We’re The Millers banked a somewhat-improbable $269 million worldwide last year, ruling the late summer weeks on a budget of only $37 million. It doesn’t seem like the most sequel-ready concept, and yet THR confirms that Adam Sztykiel has been hired to pen the next installment for New Line. No deals are in place for the cast to return, although they’re expected to be reunited as fictional family the Millers, a phony clan assembled to mask the particulars of a drug deal. Also returning will be director Rawson Mitchell Thurber, the man who had previously helmed Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. Sztykiel’s most notable credits are as one of three writers on Patrick Dempsey rom-com Made Of Honor and one of four scribes on Due Date. Holy crap, it took seven combined people to write those movies.
Meanwhile, we haven’t even seen The Equalizer yet, but some have, and they suggest a sequel is a good idea. The highest test scores for an R-rated movie in the history of Sony have led the studio to retain Richard Wenk, the writer of the first film, for a second go-round according to The Wrap. The Equalizer, based on the classic television series, is hitting theaters on September 26th, but by then Wenk will have a full lineup of stories and characters to select from for the next go-round.
The one surprise is that Denzel Washington is not yet signed for a sequel, and he’s gonna be pricey. It’s hard to believe he got involved in this project when there was no sequel clause: Washington doesn’t really do franchises, but The Equalizer ran for four seasons in the mid-eighties, as retired intelligence officer Robert McCall (then played by Edward Woodward) was your man to call to get you out of a fix. There’s plenty of material for a series of films, and Washington is one of the industry’s most dependable leading actors. Wenk, meanwhile, is a red-meat action guy: his previous credits include 16 Blocks, The Mechanic and The Expendables 2. Antoine Fuqua’s The Equalizer, which co-stars Chloe Grace Moretz, Melissa Leo, Bill Pullman, Haley Bennett, David Harbour and Marton Csokas, will hit theaters this fall, when you can determine if it’s got sequel potential, or not.