The intriguing and controversial premise of this year's summer horror The Purge drew enough moviegoers into theaters for the film to make make 12 times its original production budget in the opening weekend alone, so it came as no surprise that Universal Pictures swiftly green-lit a sequel.
The first film is based in an alternate version of America where crime, poverty and unemployment are kept under control by an annual Purge: a period of 12 hours during which all crime is legal and citizens are free to take violent revenge on their enemies, or simply let loose and live out their most sadistic and rage-filled fantasies. The wealthy can afford high-tech security to keep the riff-raff out of their homes, while the lower classes are culled in the chaos.
A press release from Universal Pictures states that "the next chapter of 'The Purge' " (no official sequel title given) will be out in theaters on June 20th, 2014. Like the first film, the sequel will be written, directed and produced by James DeMonaco through Jason Blum's production company Blumhouse and Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes.
The news more or less confirms that The Purge 2 will in fact be titled The Zone, as this is the name of the film that DeMonaco is set to begin filming in mid-December. Blumhouse needed to get The Purge 2 into production in California by the end of the year in order to receive a $2.25 million tax credit from the state, and with a summer 2014 release date, there's very little time to be wasted getting The Purge 2 in the can.
Even if DeMonaco does begin filming The Purge 2 in December, this will leave a fairly tight turnaround of just six months for post-production, marketing and distribution, but the appeal of another June release date is understandable.
In the film, the annual Purge takes place on a set date every year (seemingly on or around Independence Day), and releasing the first film during the summer box office boom no doubt contributed to its financial success. The only direct competition currently scheduled for the same release date is comedy sequel Think Like a Man Too and Clint Eastwood's adaptation of the Beach Boys musical Jersey Boys, both of which occupy very different genres from that of The Purge.
Blumhouse has an excellent working model that is more or less taking over the horror genre right now: the studio produces movies like Insidious, Sinister, The Conjuring and the Paranormal Activity films for very low budgets, cuts together great trailers for them and generates relatively huge profits at the box office.
It probably doesn't hurt that some of Blumhouse's releases are the scariest films of the past decade.
The Purge 2 arrives in theaters on June 20th, 2014.
Source: Universal Pictures