The Predator director Shane Black has stated that he would make a sequel to The Nice Guys "in a heartbeat," but it would only happen if a studio or financier got behind the production. The 2016 comedy thriller starred Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, but despite excellent reviews it didn't score big at theaters. However, Black recently revealed that he had ideas and plans for a follow-up with the two stars, although whether or not it will ever actually happen is another matter.
The Nice Guys was set in 1977, and took the buddy-cop film formula into a retro noir type detective story. Crowe was a reluctant enforcer called Jack Healy, while Gosling played an unlucky private eye named Holland March. The pair eventually bond over a missing persons case, and end the movie having created an investigative agency together. Sometimes mentioned by Black as being a spiritual sequel to his other popular comedic noir Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, it also starred Kim Basinger and Matt Bomer. It was widely acclaimed in reviews and received a Best Future Cult Hit award from SR, but it just never seemed to click with audiences at the time.
However, in a recent interview with Fandango, Black admitted that he would love to reunite Gosling and Crowe for a sequel. But he also acknowledges that the previous lack of strong domestic box office makes it pretty unlikely at the moment. Asked directly if he would shoot it himself, he said:
“In a heartbeat, if someone would pay for it... We had all kinds of ideas. The problem is it didn't do that well at the box office. I imagine it will break even, which is not a formula for reacquiring two very expensive movie stars and proceeding with a sequel... I’m ready to go. If someone decided that it were enough of a cult hit to justify that, I'd be on it.”
While Black's attention remains on The Predator at the moment, it's good to know he still has a fondness for this film and would like to play in the 1970s sandbox again. The original movie had a comparatively large budget of $50M, but only took $36M in the States, and $26M overseas. And yet the film still holds a very fresh 92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, with a healthy 79 percent audience score. The chemistry of Crowe and Gosling was praised at the time, with the pair showing a flair for comic timing, which is often untapped in their usual roles. As such, it certainly has become a belated favorite for plenty of viewers and has built up a strong fanbase as a result.
That might not be enough to engage studios as it stands, but Black's continued support for a sequel might just do that. It would also be great if the leading men expressed an interest in reprising their characters, but that remains to be seen. It was reported in September 2017 that producer Joel Silver was developing a rebooted TV series based on the film, but with a gender-swap for the main characters. However neither Silver nor Black have commented further on that project, and there don't seem to be any further updates for the show. When The Predator is released, Black's next feature may be the long-gestating Doc Savage movie. But in a perfect world, we could still see a sequel to The Nice Guys hit theaters following that.