The M. Night Shyamalan-driven sequel to the filmmaker's hit Split won't be quite as low-budgeted as its predecessor was. Audiences applauded Shyamalan's triumphant return to quality films with Split, after a slew of mediocre outings like The Happening and The Last Airbender. Critics praised not only the acting from the likes of James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy, but the twist ending which set up a larger "Shyamalaniverse". This was all the impressive, given the movie was made on a production budget of just $9 million.
Considering that Split went home with a sizable $275 million worldwide in theaters, there is certainly some room to maneuver with the budget of Shyamalan's officially-announced followup. Of course, some of that will go to cover the hefty acting talent that is joining the cause in Split 2 - a film that is officially titled Glass.
In anticipation of the sequel, Collider spoke to Split's co- producer Jason Blum on how Glass will have a bigger budget and an even bigger ambition:
“The budget is more traditional, still by Hollywood standards a very low budget, but it is not $5 million.”
The closing moments of Split feature a last-minute cameo from Bruce Willis, reprising his role as David Dunn from Shyamalan's 2000 supernatural thriller Unbreakable. There was also a nod to Samuel L. Jackson's character of Elijah Price, aka Mr. Glass, who ultimately served as the de facto villain of Unbreakable. It has since been confirmed that both Hollywood A-listers will be reprising those roles in Glass.
Jackson has already teased his involvement with Glass before the project and its title were officially confirmed to be moving forward. The Split/Unbreakable sequel will thus continue a story that Shymalan first set in motion, nearly two decades ago. Heralded as one of the most underrated superhero films out there, many having been hoping that Unbreakable would get a followup since it was first released. Similar to what 2016's Blair Witch did with its 1999 predecessor, Split's reveal that it is connected to Unbreakable was presented as a surprise.
After waiting for 17 years to see more of the indestructible Dunn, Blum also told Collider that everything seems on track for when we will see him again, and that production on Glass could start as soon as this year:
“We hope so, I hope so. We have a release date in January of 2019, so we have to start shooting pretty soon.”
With Jackson and Willis known for their high-profile roles, and with Joy reported to be circling Josh Boone's New Mutants, getting the three together could present a logistical challenge. Clearly, Blum and the other producers behind Glass feel that they can handle the task and bring Casey, David, Elijah and Kevin/"The Horde" together for Shyamalan's next chapter in his own original, comic book-inspired franchise.
- Glass (2019) release date: Jan 18, 2019