Chronicle was one of last year's pleasant surprises, and there were reports about Fox wanting to make a followup, which began circulating shortly after the found-footage/super-powered teen drama opened to critical applause (read our review) and box office returns that allowed the film to eclipse its $12 million budget within two days of release. However, things have been quiet on the sequel news front ever since the story about how Fox doesn't like the Chronicle 2 script got out (around six months ago now).
Screenwriter Max Landis - whose father Jon Landis (director of movies like Animal House and The Blues Brothers) made the claim about Chronicle 2 being held up by creative differences - has spoken out about the project's development, with the intent of putting a more positive spin on the situation for the public's consideration.
Landis is currently associated with a handful of projects, including a new version of Frankenstein (which he is writing) and the television show Vigilant that he had started co-developing with Howard Gordon (Homeland) last year. He spoke to IGN at the Middle East Comic Con, providing some insight about how him being high in demand has affected development on Chronicle 2 (and what its current status is).
As far as what's going on with the sequel, Landis said:
"Chronicle 2 is in an interesting place right now. It's moving along. There was this whole announcement that they wanted to just do the same thing again because my father said that. My father is not involved in Chronicle 2. He doesn't know the process. It was not his place to say that."
Is Landis just doing the standard damage control act here? Maybe, but that doesn't mean he isn't right about Chronicle 2 being in better shape than those previous reports suggested. Heck, even the Screen Rant Underground podcast staff was divided about the best approach to a second installment, so it doesn't require a big leap of the imagination to believe that studio officials have strong opinions about how best to shape their new "investment."
Landis went on to explain:
“The truth is when you have a movie that was as successful as Chronicle was, it's not as quick of a process. There are a lot more voices coming in and saying 'This is what the sequel should be' because there's a bigger expectation and a bigger fear of failure. And that's really what's going on with Chronicle 2."
The other contributing factor is that both Landis and director Josh Trank have other projects competing for their attention, given the aforementioned ventures that the former is currently working on; not to mention, the latter is busy putting together a Fantastic Four reboot for Fox right now.
Nevertheless, Landis insists that his Chronicle 2 script went over pretty well with studio executives (all things considered):
“The report came out that they didn't like my script. They liked my script. It's just a really dark script. The question is more of 'How do we all compromise to get something we want?' And that's an incredibly slow process.”
Should this be taken as encouraging news for those hoping to see a Chronicle sequel that features an "evolved" (re: not rehashed) story? Or merely proof that Landis knows better than to bite the hand that feeds him? I hope it's the first of the two options, but leave it to you to decide.
Screen Rant will keep you posted on Chronicle 2 as more information becomes available.