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Sony Insists It's Moving Ahead With 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire'

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by Oliver Lyttelton
January 3, 2012 9:41 AM
10 Comments
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Sony took a big risk this holiday season. Could a 160-minute hard-R-rated movie full of gore and sexual violence, based on source material that was adapted only two years ago in a popular Swedish film, be the start of a rare thing -- a franchise for adults? Signs immediately after the release of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" weren't positive. Despite the presence of director David Fincher, and a massive marketing campaign, the film was slow out of the gates against more family-friendly competition, taking a disappointing $20 million in its first five days.

Sony had already commissioned a script from Steve Zaillian for "The Girl Who Played With Fire," with signs pointing to that film shooting back-to-back with the third installment, "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest," but those opening numbers suggested for the first time that the franchise might be stillborn. But like most of the Christmas releases, the film has displayed very strong legs, tripling its initial take by its second weekend, and closing in on $100 million domestically. Not a sterling result for a film that cost a fair amount, but likely enough to make follow-ups viable. 

And the studio has now pubicly reaffirmed their commitment, with a spokesman for Sony telling EW that the first film "continues to do strong business and nothing has changed with respect to development of the next book," with a release for "The Girl Who Played With Fire" tentatively penciled in for late 2013. Obviously, this will depend on the coming weeks, and on international numbers (which aren't smashing so far, but the film is still rolling out in many territories), and maybe this is just face-saving spin, but right now, the numbers are perfectly healthy, and it seems that Sony has every intention of seeing stars Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara fulfill their three-film contract through to the end.

The big question at this point is whether Fincher will return. The filmmaker has been non-commital thus far, and has "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea" and "Cleopatra" coming up on his dance card too. Will he want to see Lisbeth Salander's journey through to the end? Or will he move on to different pastures? We imagine that Sony wouldn't be too heartbroken. The filmmaker doesn't come cheap, and bringing in a new director would help keep costs down for the follow-up. We're sure an official announcement will follow one way or another as the numbers keep rolling. In the meantime, "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" is in theaters now.

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10 Comments

  • padre | January 3, 2012 7:29 PMReply

    NOOOOOO Fincher best not be touching Cleopatra, after his betrayal of all that is good and holy, with his shameful admission that he'd turn it into some small potatoes character piece, instead of the BEN HUR / GONE WITH THE WIND mashup epic of our time. Small dreams are for small men, David! Bring on James Cameron. Now there's a director with huge balls, who's not afraid to tackle epic scale film-making! You have broken my hero-worshiping heart David Fincher! I hope you can't sleep at night!

  • Matt D | January 5, 2012 12:25 PM

    Did you really just throw Fincher under the bus for Cameron? You have to be kidding. Don't know how aware of this you are but the last time they tried to do Cleopatra as a "big epic mashup" it flopped miserably. Same cast (Taylor in place of Jolie). They should keep it as a character piece... note the name of the film...CLEOPATRA... not Sword and Sandals installment number 100. More to the point... who cares? Cleopatra? Destined for failure due to the simple fact that the protagonist is a female (generally box office poision) who's sole unique characteristic is her beauty. Matter of fact the more I think about it, give it Cameron that way it will only add to what is already an overrated resume filled with films that star women leads in contrived situations that completely suck (Aliens, Avatar, Titanic... gross). I'll take Fincher and leave Crowe and Cameron for crap like this.

  • jimmiescoffee | January 3, 2012 5:54 PMReply

    fincher classed up the overrated books and extremely average first film trilogy. i do recall the 2nd book being even more "HARD R." we'll see.

  • sp | January 3, 2012 11:47 AMReply

    I liked the original better than this retread.

  • Paul | January 3, 2012 10:45 AMReply

    I'll believe the sequels are happening the minute they're shooting. Of course the studio is saying they'll go ahead with the sequels right now because Dragon Tattoo is still in theaters. It's bad press for them to announce they're cancelling the sequels right now- and bad press could lead to a drop in ticket sales.
    Now if they're still talking about doing the sequels 7 months from now- when Dragon Tattoo is out of theaters & has sold it's initial mountain of Blu-rays- then there's real news.

  • BEF | January 3, 2012 10:38 AMReply

    I enjoyed this version (it also erased a lot of the problems I had with the Swedish version), but from what I've heard, the first book is the best. I'd really rather see Fincher make Cleopatra and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea than the rest of this franchise. I suppose that Leagues will be there for a while, but Jolie and Rudin will probably only wait so long for Cleopatra. If the rest of Girl goes forward, keep Cronenweth (DP) and Reznor and Finch (Score) and give someone like Durkin a chance in the studio wheelhouse. Just thoughts

  • James | January 3, 2012 2:20 PM

    Yep, the first book is best. The second and third are really one book split in two, and they're more James Bond-y and less grounded, with a supporting villain who has a genetic inability to feel pain, lots of chases and fights, etc. It'll be no great loss to the world if the second/third films aren't made.

    FYI - It's Atticus ROSS, lol. Atticus Finch is the lawyer in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. :)

  • CallumQ | January 3, 2012 10:13 AMReply

    From what ive heard, bringing in a new director (for the Swedish versions) and lowering the budgets is what ruined the second two films. Surely Sony wont follow the same broken routine? I hope Fincher does finish this himself.

  • aIves | March 1, 2012 3:59 PM

    I loved the book, and I really enjoyed Fincher's take on the first novel, and I hope he finishes what he started.

  • James | January 3, 2012 2:22 PM

    Agreed, I liked the first Swedish film because it was intelligently directed and looked polished, but the second was borderline unwatchable due to sloppy, poorly paced, incoherent direction and an obviously low budget, causing me to skip the third. Fincher should either do the final movies, or they should let things end where they very elegantly did with this one's quietly moving finale.

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