Earlier this week, we heard that a John Wick sequel is in the works with directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch on board. Since then, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer has confirmed not only the one follow-up but a whole series of sequels. At least with optimism if not formal plans. “We see John Wick as a multiple-title action franchise,” he said during a conference call, as quoted by Variety.
Of course every studio wants to build a tower out of their successful properties until those towers fall, and Lionsgate needs a new brand. Especially if another stated idea of Feltheimer’s doesn’t pan out. In the same call to analysts, the exec acknowledged that he’s “actively looking at some development and thinking about prequel and sequel possibilities” for the Hunger Games franchise. Deadline shares that quote.
That’s some understandable milking, even more so than the decision to split up the adaptation of the final “Hunger Games” book into two movies. The last of the series as written, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, arrives in theaters (including IMAX 3D screens) in November. After that, a huge cash cow will otherwise appear to be dry. But just as the Harry Potter world is getting spin-offs now, it’s obvious that its YA success successor will come up with something similar.
Lionsgate is already milking the Twilight brand further than the limited book series seemed to allow. They may not be the ones behind Fifty Shades of Grey, which originated as Twilight fan fiction, but the studio is producing short film spin-offs written and directed by fans (or non-fans who are interested in such a contest anyway) that will debut on Facebook later this year. This week the selected screenplays, chosen by author Stephenie Meyer, were announced and put online for the public to read before they’re turned into the actual films.
From a business standpoint, these developments are good news for the matter of literary series turned into franchises. They were once thought to have dead ends, and that’s a big part of why the splitting the final book concept became the norm. Now whether there are only three books or thirty, as long as the right deal is struck with the creator, anything goes with these brands.
The preferred solution should be to come up with original properties where you have infinite possibilities – as in the case with Star Wars, which even before Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm and decision to go wild with more sequels and prequels and sidequels was opened up very broadly with tons of licensed (now no longer canon) expanded-universe material. But even then, George Lucas had to approve it all.
As for the rest of Lionsgate’s future in franchises, they’ve still got The Expendables until all its stars retire or die of old age and they’re partial holders of the Divergent series, which is already being stretched through the soon-to-be-unnecessary split-finale trend. Maybe they’ll strike gold with the Point Break and Power Rangers reboots, too. Sadly, though, it doesn’t appear likely we’ll be seeing the rest of the Mortdecai series.
Related Topics: Twilight