Do Hollywood studio executives know something that the rest of us don't? Did they take George Lucas and Steven Spielberg's comments from earlier this year - where the duo predicted imminent major changes to the structure of the blockbuster industry - as a a challenge?
You'd be forgiven for suspecting as much, given how many genre movies (action, sci-fi, superhero, horror and so on) and/or franchise sequels have been recently announced for a 2015 release date, including Insidious: Chapter 3, Mission: Impossible 5 and the 13th Friday the 13th movie. Additionally, Star Wars: Episode VII was confirmed for a December 2015 debut a while back, rather than the originally-planned Summer launch pad (where movies like Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jurassic World, Terminator 5 and Batman vs. Superman will be taking off).
We could go on, but, getting back to the subject at hand...
Universal has officially added Bourne 5 - referred to as Untitled Next Bourne Chapter for the time being - to the 2015 roster, with an August 14th, 2015 date scheduled (the same day that The Smurfs 3 is set to open). Furthermore, the studio confirmed that director Justin Lin (director of Fast and the Furious 3-6) will helm the project, with Jeremy Renner reprising as the renegade chemically-enhanced government operative Aaron Cross (who was introduced to the Bourne universe in The Bourne Legacy).
Here is the official breakdown for the fifth Bourne installment:
Blockbuster action director Justin Lin (Fast & Furious series) will direct the fifth installment of Universal Pictures’ BOURNE espionage franchise, inspired by the series created by Robert Ludlum. Jeremy Renner returns as Aaron Cross for this chapter and Frank Marshall once again produces, alongside Jeffrey Weiner and Ben Smith for Captivate. Lin will also produce for his Perfect Storm Entertainment.
Producer Frank Marshall previously said that he expects Rachel Weisz to reprise her Bourne Legacy role - government scientist-turned Cross' fellow fugitive Dr. Marta Shearing - in future installments, but Universal has yet to confirm that the Oscar-winning actress will be involved with Bourne 5.
The fifth Bourne movie is being written by Anthony Peckham, who co-wrote the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie (starring Robert Downey Jr.) and the Nelson Mandela memoir Invictus; in addition, he reportedly did uncredited script work on the upcoming Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Previous Bourne installments were either written or co-written by Tony Gilroy, but after his script work on Bourne Legacy - which suffered from some derivative elements - a fresh screenwriting approach would be more welcome.
What should be more interesting to see is how Lin approaches the Bourne franchise, with regard to whether or not he deviates from the brainier and more grounded action-moviemaking style of previous installments. After all, despite some faults, Bourne Legacy did a solid job of expanding the series' universe and freeing up future chapters from having to adhere to the formula of the original Bourne trilogy, so that's reason enough to be interested in seeing where things go story-wise in Bourne 5 (for me, anyway).
Now - who wants to make a bet about what the next film announced for a 2015 release date will be? Will Renner's commitment to Bourne 5 affect his availability to reprise as Hawkeye in the Avengers sequel and/or as William Brandt from Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol in the fifth Mission: Impossible installment?
Bourne 5 will open in U.S. theaters on August 14th, 2015.