Coming Soon From Columbia Pictures: More 'MIB' And '21 Jump Street,' Plus 'Jumanji'by: Posted:
Forget "breathing new life" into "Men In Black." It appears "Men In Black 3" was a damn defibrilator paddle to the chest.
Weighing in at $615.7 million gross on a $215-million budget and hitting theaters this summer 15 years after the original, it achieved the rarity of being a franchise third entry that outperformed a panned second one. Movies just don't do that - except any movie featuring Hannibal Lecter.
Nevertheless, the Will Smith-Tommy Lee Jones reunion tour proved such a hit that a fourth movie is highlighting several follow ups that Columbia Pictures executive Doug Belgrad let slip to The Hollywood Reporter.
Belgrad told THR that he considers his relationship with Smith, who he got to know during shooting of "Men In Black" and "Bad Boys," one of the hallmarks of his career.
"We're very pleased with the financial performance of 'Men In Black 3,' and we believe it is an ongoing franchise. We're going to do [another one], but we don't have clarity yet on how it should be done," Belgrad said. Time may prove a factor. It's not like Jones is getting any younger.
There's plenty to keep Belgrad occupied in the meantime. He also confirmed that $187 million grossed on a $42-million budget is more than enough to guarantee a sequel to Jonah Hill's small-screen-to-big-screen "21 Jump Street." It's 85 percent "fresh" rating on RottenTomatoes.com probably isn't hurting, either.
"We plan to start shooting next fall," Belgrad said. "There are very few actors . . . who can do romance, action and comedy. We're in business with two of them, Channing Tatum and Will Smith."
Belgrad remained soft-spoken on several other projects. Out of the blue, he confirmed that he's working with fellow execs Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal to bring to life an update of the 1995 fantasy-comedy "Jumanji." In the original, Robin Williams played a boy trapped for decades inside an enchanted board game, only to be released after aging into adulthood. It topped $100 million at the box office and was an early acclaimed role for Kirsten Dunst.