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Columbia Pictures Chief Says 'Men In Black 4' Will Happen; But Why & How?

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by Tambay A. Obenson
July 19, 2012 1:39 PM
7 Comments
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And just when you thought the franchise was done. Not-so-fast my friends, apparently.

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.

Words from Columbia Pictures Chief Douglas Belgrad, speaking to The Hollywood Reporter today.

I haven't even seen Men In Black 3 yet; Why? absolutely zero interest. I was content with the first 2, and, quite frankly, they waited too long to do a third and any enthusiasm I may have had for it years ago vanished as I got older.

I will see it eventually though. I'm just in no rush at all.

But no matter; my vote doesn't mean anything because the film has grossed over $175 million domestically ($600 million worldwide) thus far; kind of quietly too it feels like doesn't it? There just doesn't seem to be as much fanfare as there was with the last 2 movies in the franchise - both outgrossing the 3rd film (adjusted for inflation) although the 3rd film is still in theaters (however, given how much space there is between it and the first two, I don't think it'll catch either of them).

Adjusted for inflation, the first MIB movie grossed $432,564,100; the second, $259,572,600. And as noted, the 3rd is currently at $175 million (all domestic).

But I suppose that $600+ million worldwide gross for #3 (suggesting that the film made the bulk of its gross outside of the USA), is probably encouragement enough for Sony/Columbia to want to do a 4th.

The question is whether Will Smith will want to return. He's already hinted at staying away from sequels of his past films, although, with specific regard to the MIB franchise, he did also say that if the fans wanted a 4th movie, he'd consider it. Do the fans want a 4th? The global box office tally might suggest that they do; but keep in mind the film's production budget was $225 million, making it the most expensive MIB film in the franchise; the first costs $122 million; the second, $190 million (both adjusted for inflation).

But I really doubt that Will Smith would come back for another, no matter what the money situation is. I could be wrong, but I just get a sense that he's pretty much done with the franchise.

How long will they wait to get it done? As Belgrad says, they don't have any clarity yet on how it should be done. I won't be surprised if they introduced a whole new team, in a passing of the baton sequence that does include the previous team, which would be their only contribution to a 4th movie.

We'll see...

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7 Comments

  • ALM | July 19, 2012 10:52 PMReply

    "We're very pleased with the financial performance of Men in Black 3...."

    This quote says it all. It's all about MONEY. The studios don't care about content or delivering a quality product to the fans. I haven't seen MIB3 because MIB2 was awful. If someone can convince me that MIB3 is as good as the first MIB was, then I might go see MIB3.

  • Amari | July 19, 2012 4:16 PMReply

    To me, the last one came full circle and really ended the trilogy in not the best way, but enough to satisfy the fans. Not many, if any movie, can really hold fans attention past a 3rd movie. Usually it tops off at the 2nd and the third is just milking remaining interest. A 4th is a real test to see how much milk is still left at the teat.

  • Orville | July 19, 2012 3:09 PMReply

    Although MIB 3 did under perform at the North American box office the movie still made only $175 million BUT the movie also made $600 million worldwide! Hollywood does care about foreign box office. The foreign box office was huge over $400 million dollars so the movie was still a success. I can see the studio is smart they know Will Smith is very popular in Asia, and Europe, Australia, New Zealand ect. So it is a good business decision.

  • Donella | July 19, 2012 3:01 PMReply

    Will Smith has a head for business. Like Tom Cruise, he took time to build a super-strong overseas/international fanbase. Like you speculated, Tambay, he'll make up any difference with the worldwide youth market. If he does return for MIB4, it may be to build a bank from which to get $ to produce specialty film projects, which would put him in a strong financial position from which to negotiate with studios.

  • andres | July 19, 2012 2:59 PMReply

    It doesn't hurt that he has publicly stated that he loves working with Barry Sonnenfeld and the financial incentives are lucrative for him to finance smaller projects under his Overbrook Entertainment production company.

  • turner | July 19, 2012 2:12 PMReply

    There are over $600 million reasons why....

  • Neziah | July 19, 2012 2:08 PMReply

    They could steal a plot from the animated series again like they did for 2 and 3. Seems to work favorably in their position.

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