The upcoming Mad Max: Fury Road recently made a lot of headlines when it was revealed that the long-anticipated teaser trailer for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will be attached to George Miller's film. However, Fury Road has a lot more going for it than that interesting tidbit. Ever since it stormed out of the gates at Comic-Con last year, the first Mad Max installment in 30 years has demonstrated that it is an epic spectacle meant to be seen on the big screen - see its action-packed, mind-blowing trailers.
With a new leading man in Tom Hardy, Fury Road can also be seen as a reboot of sorts for the series - meaning the potential is there for this to be a franchise starter for Warner Bros. Those hoping to get lost in the mad, mad world of Max for the foreseeable future will be ecstatic to hear that's the plan, as Hardy is under contract for three more films after this one.
The news comes courtesy of Esquire, where in an interview Hardy revealed that he is locked in to reprise his role for the longterm. However, fans shouldn't get too excited at the prospect of some sequels just yet, as the actor elaborated that any more ventures into the post-apocalyptic wasteland will depend on the box office success of Fury Road:
“Everything’s based on figures and how things are perceived. Inevitably it’s a business.”
Anyone with knowledge of standard Hollywood operations shouldn't be all that surprised at this. Whenever a possible tentpole like Mad Max is on its way to theaters, it's typical procedure for the principal players to agree to multi-film contracts. Of course, that doesn't always mean the terms of the deal actually go fulfilled (Green Lantern 2, anyone?), but the studio prefers to have the documentation on file as stability in the event their project becomes a hit. It makes the process of putting together a sequel all the more smoother.
In this particular case, it seems like WB was smart to plan ahead. Buzz for Fury Road has been overwhelmingly positive, and as more footage is revealed, that excitement only continues to grow. It's true that the R-rating may limit its overall demographic somewhat, but the film industry is full of adult-orientated films that broke out and surprisingly became smash hits. If the reaction to the Mad Max previews is anything to go by, WB won't have any issues making back their investment over the summer, paving the way for followups.
What these hypothetical future films may entail plot-wise is anyone's guess right now (not that "story" has been a major factor in Fury Road marketing). Years ago, when Miller was first developing his return to this universe, he announced two films; in addition to Fury Road, there would also be Furiosa, a movie based on Charlize Theron's character. Perhaps this is an avenue the studio will pursue, especially if reaction to Furiosa is strong.
However, the Esquire piece also mentions that during production of Fury Road, there was some tension between Hardy and Theron. As one might expect, the thespians have played down any incidents they may have had, but it's something to keep in mind when trying to plot out a course for the future of this blossoming franchise.
WB obviously views Hardy as the main attraction with Fury Road, and if the studio wants to keep him in the game for a long series, they'd be best served to keep him happy. We'll just have to wait and see what happens, but right now we certainly wouldn't mind more trips to this visually-stunning world - again, based on what we've seen thus far.
Mad Max: Fury Road hits theaters May 15, 2015.