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With Cartel halted Universal greenlights...Johnny English 2?

04.08.2010

While on the surface it may seem like a retarded decision to stop production on an adult drama like Josh Brolin's CARTER and then greenlight JOHNNY ENGLISH 2, a sequel to a movie that made only $28 million in the US. And while I suppose on a creative level, this is slightly retarded, who said anything about Hollywood working on a creative level? This is, after all, a business and on a business level, this was actually pretty smart.

Universal has been hit pretty hard lately with the commercial failure of adult-themed films like GREEN ZONE, STATE OF PLAY and even REPO MEN. They cost a lot of money, don't do well overseas and wind up dragging the studio down into the red. CARTEL, like it or not, falls into that category of film. Only an idiot does the same thing over and over again and expects different results (as the saying goes) so Universal had to make changes. One that looks to permeate their upcoming slate is to greenlight more international-friendly, light and comedic fare.

While it's true that JOHNNY ENGLISH made only $28 million here in the US, it made $161 million internationally. For a film that cost only $40 million, that's a pretty good haul (and I'm guessing they're going to have this film budgeted at less than $40 million). It's a move they also made recently with NANNY MCPHEE 2, a movie which doesn't open in the US until August but has already made $16 million in the UK.

I know on the surface it's frustrating to hear of moves like this but it's not that simple of a trade-off. Remember that the success of movies like JOHNNY ENGLISH 2 (should it actually succeed) help fund riskier fare. And keep in mind that Universal has some pretty fanboy-friendly fare on the way including SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD, PAUL, COWBOYS VS. ALIENS and YOUR HIGHNESS.

Extra Tidbit: Filming on ENGLISH 2 is expected to begin this August.
Source: Variety

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