Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said Thursday during the company’s third-quarter earnings call that a sequel to Knives Out is officially a go, hinting that a production start for a follow-up to the money-making and critically acclaimed Rian Johnson whodunit is imminent.
The news comes as the film starring Daniel Craig, which earned Johnson his first Oscar nomination for his Original Screenplay, is nearing the $300 million mark at the worldwide box office. It was one of three films to come out during Lionsgate’s fiscal Q3 along with Midway and Bombshell. As a result, film revenue rose 30% in the quarter, the company said.
Johnson has been openly hinting he was keen to do a sequel to Knives Out, his contemporary spin on an Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery with Craig’s private investigator Benoit Blanc at the center of the tale. Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis and Michael Shannon led the strong ensemble cast.
The pic was a critical hit from its late November release, and was nominated for three Golden Globes including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Johnson also racked up nominations for Best Original Screenplay at the BAFTAs, the Critics’ Choice Awards and the WGA Awards.
“I had such a good time making it, such a great time working with Daniel, and now just seeing that audiences are responding to it, the idea of continuing it on seems like it would just be a blast,” the director told Deadline on Oscar nomination day. “But there’s a lot that has to happen before that can happen, first and foremost being writing a script. So, we’ll see.”
Feltheimer said on today’s earnings call that John Wick 4 is also gearing up for production as the CEO touted the company’s ability to craft franchises from its IP.
Another film in the pipeline is Chaos Walking, the sci-fi picbased on Patrick Ness’ YA franchise that stars Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland. Responding to an analyst question about its status, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group chairman Joe Drake said the Doug Liman-directed pic expected to be fully locked by mid-April, with a release date announcement coming as early as Friday.
Lionsgate originally scheduled the release for March 1, 2019.
“We’ve two of our biggest stars on the planet today leading that,” Drake said, adding that all photography is finished following reshoots and script tweaks. “We got our work done and we’re in a good spot and you will see very soon when we’re releasing it.”
This year, Lionsgate has to come I Still Believe, the follow-up to the Erwin Brothers’ faith-based hit hit I Can Only Imagine, in March; Spiral, its reimagined Saw film starring Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson, in May; and the Hitman’s Bodyguard sequel in August.
Feltheimer said new film packages and production starts are in the works, “and I expect that our fiscal-year 2022 slate will be one of our most exciting ever.”