Blade Runner 2, as the followup to Ridley Scott's touchstone 1982 futuristic Noir drama/thriller is currently known, has been a long time in coming, but will finally enter production during the summer of 2016. By comparison, the John Wick followup - a sequel now officially titled John Wick: Chapter Two - was much quicker to start filming, after its predecessor hit theaters in 2014. The latter also gave rise to a character (the movie's namesake, played by Keanu Reeves) who has already become the basis for a multi-platform property that already includes both movies and video games alike.
Scott helped to develop the script and story for Blade Runner 2, in collaboration with Blade Runner screenwriter Hampton Fancher and screenwriter Michael Green (who also worked on the screenplay for Scott's upcoming Alien: Covenant), before he passed off directing responsibilities on the sci-fi sequel to Denis Villeneuve of Prisoners and Sicario fame. John Wick: Chapter Two will see most of the talent that worked on its predecessor returning behind the camera, with John Wick co-director Chad Stahelski calling the shots from a screenplay once again penned by Derek Kolstad. The bigger news? Both films now have official release dates, too.
Lionsgate has officially set John Wick: Chapter Two to open in U.S. theaters on February 10th, 2017, where it is currently positioned to provide an R-Rated action/thriller alternative to the erotic romantic drama/thrills offered by the Fifty Shades of Grey sequel, Fifty Shades Darker, and the family-friendly action/comedy of the LEGO Movie spinoff, The LEGO Batman Movie. Meanwhile, Alcon Entertainment has set Blade Runner 2 to arrive in U.S. theaters on January 12th, 2018: a date that is currently not being claimed for any other film releases... though that could easily change, seeing as the date is about a year and eleven months away, at the time of writing this.
Filming on John Wick: Chapter Two got started back in fall 2015, but by that point Lionsgate already had a full movie slate for 2016; hence, it will launch in 2017. The first John Wick was a cult success at the box office thanks to the critical acclaim it earned (and its low budget), so its February release date makes sense enough - seeing as the competition should not be too intense during that frame, when it comes to the action movie market. Furthermore, it's not hard to imagine that the newfound commercial success of Deadpool had some impact on Lionsgate's decision to release its own R-Rated franchise film in February; at the least, the timing of this news is fortuitous, for that reason.
Joining Reeves as part of the John Wick: Chapter Two cast are such returning players as Ian McShane (Winston), Lance Reddick (Hotel Manager Charon), Tom Sadowski (Jimmy), and Bridget Moynahan as John's deceased wife, Helen. Meanwhile, the new cast additions to the sequel - which, for now, we only have the following basic logline to draw plot information from - include Ruby Rose (Orange is the New Black), Peter Stormare (22 Jump Street), Common (Run All Night), and Reeves' onetime Matrix trilogy costar, Laurence Fishburne.
“In the follow up to last year’s adrenaline-fueled revenge and redemption thriller, legendary hit man John Wick is back.”
The official release date for Blade Runner 2 comes as more of a surprise, given the amount of interest surrounding the long-developing Blade Runner sequel; with Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford (the latter reprising his role as Rick Deckard) headlining the film and a well-respected director at the helm, Blade Runner 2 isn't the sort of movie you expect to be released in the traditional dumping ground that is the middle of January. On the other hand, it's getting to a point where studios are releasing tentpoles and/or "event" films in theaters the entire year-round (rather than primarily in the summer or near the end of the year), and Alcon's date for Blade Runner 2 is a reflection of that.
Franchises likes John Wick and Blade Runner might not have the muscle to compete with the current heavyweights in Hollywood (see Star Wars, Marvel superhero films, etc.), but ultimately both films may be well served by their early-year release dates - allowing both movies room to generate positive buzz (assuming they maintain the artistic quality of their predecessors) and not be overshadowed by all the big movies that will hit theaters over the next couple of years. Feel free and let us know which of these sequels you're personally most excited for (if not equally so for both of them).
John Wick: Chapter Two is set to open in U.S. theaters on February 10th, 2017, followed by Blade Runner 2 on January 12th, 2018.
Source: Alcon Entertainment, Lionsgate