The success of the American heist thriller Now You See Me back in 2013 wasn’t just an illusion, despite receiving lukewarm reviews from critics; the movie became a box office success, grossing $352 million worldwide (against a $75 million budget). Understandably in the age of reboots and sequels, it didn’t take long for Lionsgate to order a second installment, reuniting three of the Four Horsemen (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, and Dave Franco) on screen, with Masters of Sex Lizzy Caplan replacing Isla Fisher (who won’t feature in the upcoming sequel).
Although Now You See Me 2 doesn’t hit theaters until June, studio heads appear assured that they possess a ‘magic’ formula, as they are currently in the process of locking down elements for Now You See Me 3. Last year, CEO Jon Feltheimer announced that Lionsgate had already started planning for the third film, but gave no further details at the time. However, it has since been confirmed that Jon M. Chu will be returning to the director’s chair (at least) once more.
There has been no word yet on which cast members will return, but Variety reports that the studio voted with confidence upon signing a deal to expand their caper series and bring Chu back onboard for the third Now You See Me movie, nearly two months before the release of Now You See Me 2.
Chu (who replaced original Now You See Me director Louis Leterrier) has become the go-to director for picking up franchises midstride and taking on their sequels, with blockbusters such as Step Up 2: The Streets and G.I. Joe: Retaliation under his belt. The former proved that he could choreograph street-savvy scenes with bursts of energy, securing a third place spot at the box office on its opening weekend and outperforming its predecessor; while the latter showcased his ability to craft high-octane action sequences, as the film quickly became the highest grossing entry in the G.I. Joe series.
In spite of his aptitude for working across genres at a reasonably quick pace, his most recent picture faced plenty of opposition from fans and ultimately tanked at the box office. In fact, Universal Pictures made the decision to pull Jem and the Holograms from theater listings, after it grossed a measly $1.4 million in its opening weekend, making it one of the worst debuts of all time for a major movie studio.
With a fairly mixed bag of credits to his name, it remains to be seen whether Now You See Me 2 will top the gross for the original comedy caper but Lionsgate will certainly be hoping that Chu has a trick up his sleeve for the next two acts of the magic show, especially since the studio’s highly successful Hunger Games trilogy has now concluded, and last month’s release of The Divergent Series: Allegiant marked the beginning of the end for another of the studio’s lucrative YA sci-fi properties.
Now You See Me 2 opens in U.S. theaters on June 10th, 2016. Stay tuned to Screen Rant for further updates on Now You See Me 3.