Fans of the very successful American Pie franchise will be jumping up and down at the latest news that Universal is planning on bringing the franchise back to the big-screen with American Pie 4. And this ain't just hopeful speculation from a fan of the series; the studio has already tapped a couple of writers to pen the script.
After hearing word of AP4 back in Fall 2008, we now have confirmation and more details on it: LA Times is reporting that Universal is poised to hire Harold and Kumar screenwriters, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, to write a script for American Pie 4 (as it's being called for the time being).
The studio is hoping for AP4 to be a theatrical release, as opposed to being released on DVD as the franchise has been for four films now. And yes, it would likely feature all the original gang, including Jim (Jason Biggs), Stifler (Sean William Scott), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas).
American Pie was a true phenomenon back in 1999 (yes, it's been 11 years since it came out), setting the bar and perhaps even the blueprint for all raunchy teen comedies to follow. After the first film came American Pie 2 and American Wedding, both released theatrically to huge success ($287 million and $231 million, respectively). However, following Wedding came the slate of straight-to-DVD movies under the "American Pie Presents" banner, including Band Camp, The Naked Mile, Beta House and most recently The Book of Love.
It's become a joke to me when a new American Pie DVD gets released. But people must be buying them or else they wouldn't keep making them...
Universal is looking to separate American Pie 4 from those straight-to-DVD releases, thinking the franchise is ripe for a new theatrical run. The studio, however, declined to comment on the development of the fourth movie, which signals to me they don't want to give out any details at this early stage.
Speaking of it being in the early stage, none of the original cast have been signed to return. But LA Times says several of the original cast members are interested in coming back for another slice. Most of them haven't done a helluva lot since leaving the franchise, so returning to a previously successful property would be a smart move for them.
One of the big caveats to doing another American Pie with the original cast is what the plot would be. Many of the original cast are now in their early 30s. People are speculating that this new film could catch up with the gang at their 10-year high school reunion ("American Pie: The Reunion?") or maybe years down the line when they're struggling with married/family life.
Another problem Universal faces is trying to compete with other R-rated comedies that have become the norm ever since American Pie was released - namely Judd Apatow comedies or breakthrough successes like The Hangover. On the other hand, the studio could use the popularity of these types of movies to get people to pay theater prices for American Pie 4.
I remember when American Pie first came out and it really was a big deal. It was one of those movies everyone asked "Have you seen American Pie yet? No? Go watch it now!" I recently rewatched it and I have to admit: it didn't make me laugh nearly as much as it did 10 years ago, something which may be a result of seeing a thousand other raunchy buddy comedies since. As long as they can bring something fresh to the franchise and don't just re-hash ideas (a la the straight-to-DVD releases) I'd be up for reuniting with the original characters.
Would you be up for an American Pie 4 in theaters instead of it going straight-to-DVD? Or is the franchise done? What kind of plot can you foresee for the fourth movie?
As stated, American Pie 4 is currently in the early development stages - but stay tuned to Screen Rant for any updates on that front.