Insidious: Chapter 2, which is the sequel to director James Wan's lucrative 2011 supernatural horror flick (a twist on the tried-and-true haunted house sub-genre), had a production budget of "just" $5 million and managed to defy even the more generous box office predictions by taking in $41 million during its opening weekend in the U.S. So... how long do we have to wait until Insidious: Chapter 3 arrives in theaters?
Well, it's difficult to say at this point, given that Wan began principal photography on Fast & Furious 7 just last week (for a Summer 2014 release date); not to mention, the series producer Jason Blum has announced that there are no plans to make a third Insidious movie - no plans yet, anyway.
It's the rare successful horror movie that doesn't give rise to a franchise nowadays - and many of them are produced by Blum, no less. Case in point, he's one of the producers for the Paranormal Activity series (with two new installments arriving in 2014); in addition, Blum has a hand in development on the respective followups to a pair of lucrative horror titles released since 2012, Sinister and The Purge. However, Blum told Cinema Blend in a recent interview that the future of the Insidious franchise lies in Wan and costar/screenwriter Leigh Whannell's hands right now.
To quote Blum:
"I would love to make a third film, but James and Leigh will not hear of it until this movie comes out. So, I’d be thrilled to make a third movie, but there is no current plan to make a third movie at all. Only in my head!"
[UPDATE: Not so fast! FilmDistrict has issues a press released, confirming that Whannell has signed on to write Insidious: Chapter 3. Blum is returning as one of the producers, but there's no mention of Wan in the press release.]
Wan has claimed that he is done making horror movies (after a decade of working in the genre), but that doesn't mean that he and Whannell's days of taking audiences into The Further are over, if history is any indication. You might recall that Whannell scripted both Saw II & III (the latter based on a screen story that he devised with Wan), even though Wan stopped directing after the first installment and only produced the subsequent six (!) followups - questions is, could something like that happen again, on the Insidious franchise?
Here comes the rub: Saw I-III managed to tell something of an enclosed (if imperfect) story, before the later installments ended up making a larger mess of the franchise' over-arching mythos and thematic elements. It would be a real shame if the same were to happen to the Insidious property, given that Chapter 2 - love it or hate it (read our review) - found a way to craft a self-contained narrative in combination with the first movie, and it even paid homage to a fuller spectrum of classic horror tropes in the process (ranging from the family-in-distress issues in Poltergeist to the domestic fears/metaphors of The Shining and even an updated take on the fear of the other subtext in Psycho).
Patrick Wilson, who plays Josh Lambert in the Insidious universe and Ed Warren in The Conjuring (also directed by Wan), told Indiewire that he doubts Wan will approach him about making Insidious: Chapter 3, for similar reasons. To quote the actor:
"Here's the thing, I don't know if he would. I don't know where else you go with Josh Lambert... Like, where else do you go with that guy? He's been through the ringer, and I think ['Insidious: Chapter 2'] sets it up well at the end, to be honest with you. And that's great, that's how it should end."
There's already a sequel to The Conjuring in development, with a script that is reportedly going to be based on one of the Warrens' lesser-known supernatural investigation cases. However, many horror fans have already spoken out and it made it clear: if Wan isn't directing, then they're not interested in a Conjuring 2 - and that probably goes two-fold for Insidious: Chapter 3, based on what happened to the Saw franchise after Wan let other people take the helm.
Having said that: Insidious: Chapter 2 does, in fact, conclude on a note that leaves the (red?) door open for Chapter 3, even though the story for the third installment probably wouldn't - make that shouldn't - involve Josh Lambert or his family in any significant capacity (as Wilson pointed out). Question is, are there any horror filmmakers that are active right now who could find a way to continue evolving and developing the Insidious property in a satisfying fashion (assuming that Wan is done playing with this creepy toy of theirs)?
Do you want to see Insidious: Chapter 3, with or without the Wan/Whannell team? Any suggestions for who could direct if Wan says no? Let us know in the comments section; then, if you like, head over to the Insidious: Chapter 2 spoilers thread to talk about the film's many twists and turns.
Insidious: Chapter 2 is now playing in theaters.