Sony sets a 2020 release date for the Escape Room sequel, with director Adam Robitel returning. The original film was a suspenseful horror-thriller that (in the vein of Cube and Saw before it) followed a group of people as they are forced to survive under extreme circumstances and either navigate a series of high-tech escape rooms in the allotted time or die trying. Reviews were mixed overall, but many people found the movie to be surprisingly fun and enjoyed how its set pieces used the escape room concept to add a unique twist to its otherwise formulaic horror film proceedings.
Of course, as anyone who saw Escape Room can tell you, the ending leaves the door wide open for a sequel that further explores the company behind the mind-bending escape rooms, Minos, and their equally mysterious (not to mention, insidious) Puzzle Master. The odds were in favor of Escape Room 2 happening from the get-go, seeing as the original movie only cost $9 million to produce and made twice that amount in its U.S. box office opening weekend alone. Escape Room has since gone on to gross $119 million worldwide, ensuring that Sony's franchise plans will come to fruition.
Deadline is reporting that Sony has scheduled the Escape Room sequel to hit theaters on April 17, 2020, with Robitel returning alongside Escape Room writer Bragi F. Schut and producer Neal H. Moritz. Plot details are being kept under-wraps for now but, as mentioned, the first movie ended with a direct tease of an escape room set piece that could serve as the sequel's opening sequence. Similarly, the characters who did manage to survive Minos' challenge in the end are expected to return for the next adventure and will presumably be joined by a whole new cast of either additional heroes or escape room victims.
Arguably, Escape Room suffered when it shifted its focus to setting up a sequel and away from its own story and character threads. At the same time, the film's premise lends itself to a franchise even more than Saw did, much like there are countless variations of escape room scenarios and puzzles in real life. The escape rooms themselves are the real stars of this series, but Robitel did a nice job of staging and visualizing them in the first installment, so it's encouraging to learn that he's coming back for the followup. Hopefully, the director will find a name actor to play the Puzzle Master, as the payoff to the previous film's tease of the character and their true identity.
At the moment, the Escape Room sequel is the only film scheduled to arrive on April 17 next year. April tends to be a less competitive month in general, which makes it a smart place to release the sequel to a modestly successful horror-thriller, much like the original film was well served by its post-winter holiday January launch this year. Interestingly, both early January and mid-April have become popular spots for studios to release horror movies of late, what with Curse of La Llorona arriving three weeks into April this year and Sony's Grudge reboot dropping in theaters at the start of 2020. That certainly bodes well for Escape Room 2's own box office prospects.