Universal Considering IDENTITY THIEF and MAMA Sequels; Hopes to Release FIFTY SHADES OF GREY in Summer 2014

     February 20, 2013


Universal Pictures had a pretty impressive 2012 despite the high-profile bomb Battleship.  The R-rated comedy Ted has now raked in over $500 million worldwide, and with a sequel already in development, Universal is looking to tee up a couple of other franchises in the near future.  Universal Pictures chairman Adam Fogelson recently sat down for an interview in which he revealed that the studio is actively developing a sequel to this year’s comedy hit Identity Thief, they’re working on a Snow White and the Huntsman sequel without director Rupert Sanders, they hope to make more Bourne movies, and they’re looking to get the anticipated Fifty Shades of Grey adaptation in theaters by Summer 2014.  He also talked a bit about their approach to the Van Helsing reboot.

Moreover, a separate report has surfaced claiming that Universal is also eyeing a potential franchise for last month’s horror film Mama, though the pic’s director isn’t exactly keen on expanding the premise into a sequel.  Hit the jump to read on.

identity-thief-2-sequel-jason-bateman-melissa-mccarthySpeaking with THR, Fogelson revealed that they’re hoping to produce a sequel to the commercially successful—and critically reviled—Jason Bateman/Melissa McCarthy comedy Identity Thief:

“[A sequel to Identity Thief is] absolutely a conversation that we’re having. We think we created great characters, so we’ll discuss how to re-pair Jason and Melissa going forward.”

He also confirmed that, despite the box office disappointment of The Bourne Legacy, the studio would like to move forward with more Bourne films:

“The point of the last movie was to create a universe, a world and characters that give us a lot of freedom and flexibility in how we go forward. Yeah, the movie didn’t perform the way the last one did. It also didn’t cost what the last one did. It performed more along the lines of how the first one did. I absolutely see us doing more Bourne, 100 percent yes. Matt has talked about the possibility of coming back, and we totally respect that and are excited if and when he wants to have conversations. But I think the last movie gave us a big bunch of options to pursue a next chapter.”

snow-white-and-the-huntsman-2-sequel-chris-hemsworth-kristen-stewartFogelson went on to provide a minor update on the Snow White and the Huntsman sequel, confirming that it’s in development and would likely involve both Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth’s characters:

“We’re actively developing the movie right now with Kristen’s character central, as well as the Huntsman role. We think that for a first movie out of the gate to do basically $400 million worldwide, there is a lot of opportunity. I don’t think [director] Rupert [Sanders] is pursuing the next Snow White as a directing opportunity.”

Speaking about the Van Helsing reboot, Fogelson says they’re aiming to create a big blockbuster monster movie:

“Universal monsters are probably the thing people most equate with our library. But monsters are not superheroes. Virtually every monster story is by definition a tragic story. We are developing another Mummy. We are looking at rebooting Van Helsing because I think the idea for the Van Helsing story was a great way of solving the question of, ‘How do you make a blockbuster out of monsters?'”

fifty-shades-of-grey-movieOn the subject of the anticipated Fifty Shades of Grey adaptation—which screenwriter Kelly Marcel is currently writing—Fogelson said they don’t feel the need to rush things:

“I don’t believe that [author EL James] had any interest in going to a studio where rushing it into production was the vision. I don’t believe that the second or third film would have benefited from that strategy. And I think that there are totally legitimate questions about what this book is as a movie. I will tell you that it is an absolute priority for us. It’s conceivable that we could be ready to release it as early as next summer.”

Last month’s horror film Mama was a sizeable hit for the studio, grossing $85 million against a budget of $15 million.  International Universal Pictures president David Kosse revealed to Screen Daily that the studio is looking at possibly turning the conceit into a franchise:

“We think there’s potential for a Mama franchise. We’d like to do another one. But those conversations are in the early stages. Mama is the first of this type of model that we’ve had enormous success with so there are more opportunities for this kind of film.”

mama-2-sequelHowever, the notion of further Mama films doesn’t exactly sit well with the film’s director, Andrés Muschietti.  The pic was a feature film adaptation of Muschietti’s own short film, and he told ScreenCrush that he thinks the premise was stretched as far as it can go:

“We sort of wore out the subject matter…I never thought this could continue. Sequels are always tricky. I know how studios think but I don’t see Mama as something you can exploit because you’re screwing with the original. I’m really hoping to jump into some other movies right now.”

Whether Universal actually moves forward with Mama 2 has still yet to be determined, but it appears that there’s interest within the studio of continuing on.  Hopefully we hear more one way or another in the near future, though it certainly sounds like Muschietti wants nothing to do with a proposed follow-up.


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