Despite bruising reviews from critics, the 2018 action/crime film Den of Thieves is set to get a sequel, with star Gerard Butler returning. Butler was of course first established as an A-list star by his lead turn in Zack Snyder's 300, one of the controversial director's best-received films by both critics and moviegoers. In the years since though, Butler hasn't exactly been a favorite of critics, with most of his films garnering pretty scathing reviews.
That trend held true for Butler's January 2018 release Den of Thieves, which earned a 40 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. Notably, that number is actually one of the highest he's earned in a while, with last year's Geostorm cratering at 13 percent, and 2016's action sequel London Has Fallen earning a 25 percent. Critical opinion aside though, Butler remains a popular actor, and his fanbase remains sizable.
Even with Butler's personal popularity considered, it's still a bit surprising that Den of Thieves would earn a sequel, at least based off of its box office receipts. The general belief is that a film needs to double its budget in theaters to break even, and Den of Thieves hasn't done that. The film has grossed about $57 million so far on a reported budget of $30 million, which isn't exactly a take worthy of celebration. Regardless, a sequel is official, according to Deadline.
It seems there were some factors working in Den of Thieves favor that helped ensure the film's success. According to Deadline's report, a combination of international pre-sales and tax incentives led to 70 percent of the production budget being covered before Den of Thieves even hit theaters. Thus, distributor STX films actually made out pretty well financially on the film, despite what on the surface appears to be a fairly unimpressive gross. Den of Thieves also has yet to open in multiple worldwide markets, so the potential for further high-dollar earnings is there.
In addition to the return of Gerard Butler in the lead, co-stars Tucker Tooley, Mark Canton, Alan Siegel, and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson have also signed on to come back. O'Shea Jackson Jr. is still in negotiations to return, but he is expected to be a part of the sequel. Also coming back is writer/director Christian Gudegast. Basically, it seems like those who enjoyed the original Den of Thieves are quite likely to enjoy Den of Thieves 2 as well. With the same cast and crew involved though, those who didn't like Den of Thieves probably shouldn't expect to be converted here.