In the current age of political strife and unrest in America, perhaps no horror franchise has emerged as more culturally relevant than The Purge. Set in a dystopian near-future, The Purge presents a world where American society collapsed, leading to the rise of a new group of authoritarian governing overlords called The New Founding Fathers of America. This resulted in the creation of the titular Purge, a yearly event during which any type of crime is legal for a period of 12-hours.
The stated idea behind the Purge is to allow people to indulge the violent, criminal impulses that they are forced to keep hidden during the rest of the year, lest they be sent to prison. However, as subsequent sequels The Purge: Anarchy and The Purge: Election Year would reveal, the annual Purge is actually more concerned with providing the rich and powerful a means with which to control the population. As Election Year showed, some wealthy people even use the "holiday" as an excuse to watch the poor be hunted for sport.
Continuing the Purge franchise's recent pattern of pumping out a new entry every other year, Universal Pictures has officially announced that the as yet untitled fourth Purge installment is set to hit theaters on July 4, 2018, a date that seems particularly appropriate when one considers the politically-charged subject matter. Interestingly, Universal's press release also reveals that this will be the first Purge film not to be directed by franchise creator James DeMonaco, who has written and directed all three prior installments. He will return to write the script though.
Universal Pictures opting to commission another Purge sequel is far from a surprise, as the series - produced by prolific horror company Blumhouse - has proven to be a veritable cash cow for the studio. 2013's original Purge movie set the tone by earning nearly $90 million worldwide on a budget of only $3 million. 2014's Anarchy followed that up by bringing in nearly $112 million on a budget of $9 million. 2016's Election Year - so far the best reviewed film in the franchise - did similarly, grossing nearly $120 million on a budget of $10 million.
One wonders what The Purge 4's story will be about, as Election Year ended on an unusually positive note for the series, with the beginning of what looked it might be the end for the villainous NFFA's reign of terror. Still, one assumes that such a transition won't happen without a protracted fight, as hinted at by reports of riots by Purge supporters in Election Year's final scenes. One also wonders if Frank Grillo - hero of both sequels - will opt to return as Leo Barnes, as the actor has expressed doubts about the prospect previously.
Source: Universal Pictures