Warning: Spoilers for The Belko Experiment ahead
Sean Gunn insists there are currently no plans for a sequel to 2017's contained horror flick The Belko Experiment. This begs the question: will we ever see The Belko Experiment 2? Director Greg McLean's The Belko Experiment - written by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 director James Gunn - has been described as "Battle Royale meets Office Space." Plus, given such a high concept premise, the script by fan-favorite MCU helmer Gunn, and an eye-popping batch of trailers, the movie was hotly anticipated by horror fans. Reviews for The Belko Experiment were mostly mixed, with the consensus being that while the premise was fantastic, the execution fell into predictable stalk-and-splatter patterns.
The employees of Belko Industries find themselves suddenly locked down in their Colombia office building without warning, with a mysterious voice informing them they are all part of an experiment. The employees, including Mike Milch (John Gallagher, Jr.), Leandra Jerez (Adria Arjona), Wendell Dukes (John C. McGinley), and COO Barry Norris (Tony Goldwyn) are told to kill a certain number of each other by a certain time. Failure to comply means a significant uptick in expected bodycount.
By the end, Mike Milch is the only survivor of the mayhem. The end of the film reveals a much larger conspiracy behind the experiment, as Mike comes face to scarred face with "The Voice" (Gregg Henry), who reveals that Mike was part of a social experiment. Mike manages to kill him and his guard, with the final shot of the film revealing the dozens - if not hundreds - of other "experiments" happening around the world at apparently the same time and sets up "Stage 2." To date, no official development on a sequel has been announced. James Gunn's brother Sean Gunn, known for his roles in both Guardians movies and who also had a part in Belko, recently told ScreenGeek that essentially, fans shouldn't hold their breath. When asked about a sequel to Belko, Gunn said:
“I don’t know. The movie was, I guess, a little bit of a success, but it’s always hard to guess that sort of thing. As of now, there are no plans that I know of – but we sure had a lot of fun doing that.”
It's clear to anyone who watches The Belko Experiment that the film's ending was meant to jumpstart a franchise. Almost exactly a year later, no sequel has been announced. Writer/producer James Gunn told JoBlo last year that he definitely had ideas for at least two more entries, saying: "I have it all in my head. I've got the next two in my head. If people want the sequel I will give them the sequel." Gunn told Complex roughly the same thing, phrased in roughly the same way: It's up to the fans.
This sentiment echoes the years-long question about whether or not fans of Alex Garland's Dredd would ever see a sequel. That property is set to become a TV series, but an official sequel was always going to depend on the box office take. Dredd basically broke even, and while The Belko Experiment's production budget was estimated to be around $5 million, it barely cracked $10 million at the domestic box office.
The Belko Experiment has its fans, but clearly not enough of them showed up to see it in theaters, which is the first - and often only - factor in whether or not a sequel is greenlit. Horror releases often become franchises solely on the strength of a strong opening weekend, with genre fans lured by a nice and gruesome trailer, scenery-chewing stars, and a fascinating hook. The Belko Experiment had all of this in place... and still wasn't a hit. In the end, it might be up to the fans, after all.