Releasing a sequel over a decade after its predecessor is a tricky proposition. On the one hand, there is clear studio appeal to make a follow-up to a beloved film with a built-in audience. However, if the project isn’t done right, it could often disappoint core fans and subsequently sully the reputation of the franchise itself.
Such was the risk with writer/director Malcom D. Lee’s The Best Man Holiday. The film – which just released in theaters this past weekend (read our review) – is a sequel to the 1999 hit The Best Man and features the return of the entire main cast of the first film. While the original film is well-remembered by fans, there was no telling how its sequel would perform at the box office, especially against the likes of Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World, but it managed to reign in over $30 million domestically against a $17 million production budget. In Hollywood, that kind of success can mean only one thing.
According to Deadline, Lee is in negotiations to write, direct and produce another film in The Best Man franchise for Universal. There’s no word yet on which cast members would return for the third film, but it doesn’t sound like any of them are contracted to come back. Lee is currently developing an untitled project for Fox Searchlight but is expected to begin work on The Best Man Holiday sequel soon.
The Best Man marked Lee’s directorial debut, and it’s easy to see why he would jump at the chance to continue writing for those characters. After all, none of his follow-up films – from 2002 comedy Undercover Brother to 2013 sequel Scary Movie V – have made as strong an impression as his first film. Since audiences clearly want more, it’s a win-win situation for everyone.
However, the difficulty with keeping The Best Man series rolling is in the contracts. Since the series relies so heavily on its ensemble cast, Lee may have trouble getting all the key players to commit to another film (In case you haven’t heard, star Terrence Howard knows a thing or two about contract disputes). If that’s the case, the film could either inflate its budget (thereby risking its chances to turn a profit) or pull a similar move as American Wedding – the third entry in the American Pie series (which also coincidentally has a sequel to its revival film, American Reunion, in development at Universal) – and simply write around the absence of some characters.
In any case, it sounds like Universal (understandably) wants to capitalize on the success of The Best Man Holiday and fast-track its sequel. Fans can only hope that development moves along smoothly and that Lee and company are able to lure back the likes of Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Morris Chestnut and the rest of the cast.
Do you want to see a sequel to The Best Man Holiday, or would you prefer that Lee focus his energies elsewhere? Let us know in the comments section below.
The Best Man Holiday is now playing in theaters. Stay tuned for updates on its untitled sequel as this story develops.