In the 2013 Battle of the Movies About Terrorists Taking Over the White House, we had Antoine Fuqua’s Gerard Butler led Olympus Has Fallen going toe-to-blown-off-toe with Roland Emmerich’s Channing Tatum/Jamie Foxx vehicle White House Down. While both films are not exactly modern movie classics and received their fair share of critic tongue lashings, they both had their perks that appealed to audiences. More so in the case of Olympus though, which posted a reasonably profitable $161 million global box office take off a $70 million budget. White House Down actually pulled in more at $205 million, but due to its much higher price tag of $150 million, it’s considered a bomb.
All of this means that while White House Down is relegated to e-TV Sunday night movie status, Fuqua’s effort is getting a sequel. Except it will no longer be Fuqua at the helm. With the director currently reteaming with his Oscar winning Training Day partner Denzel Washington on The Equalizer and its already greenlit sequels (this just off very, very positive test screenings), he is apparently too busy to continue with the violent adventures of disgraced Secret Service Agent turned terrorist’s worst nightmare Mike Banning.
According to THR, that job is now going to award winning Swedish commercial man turned feature film director Fredrik Bond, the helmer of last year’s Shia LaBeouf misfire Charlie Countryman. Not having seen anything else of Bond’s work, I can’t say that this fills me with much confidence. I actually preferred Olympus over White House Down, purely because of Fuqua’s brutally tense and unflinching direction, and I’m not sure if Bond can match that. While Charlie Countryman boasted a few tense moments (and surprising a good turn from LaBeouf), it was mostly far too much unnecessarily flashy, overdirected, incoherent noise, which may work well for commercials and music videos, but doesn’t translate well to skop, skiet en donner blockbusters.
Bond has been popping on the shortlists of several big budget Hollywood blockbusters though, including Pirates of the Caribbean 5, so he must be showing the studios something that they like.
Possibly helping to ease the transition though, it’s also now been confirmed that London Has Fallen – as the sequel is known – will have some other familiar faces there, with Butler back as Banning, and Aaron Eckhart and Morgan Freeman reprising their respective roles as US President Benjamin Asher and Speaker of the House Trumbull.
THR also confirms some earlier rumours about the direction of the sequel’s plot, saying that “the three main characters — a U.S. Secret Service agent (Butler), the U.S. president (Eckhart) and the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (Freeman) — are attending the funeral of the British prime minister when all hell breaks loose (again).”
This of course continues the most recent Hollywood trend of big movies/TV series blowing up half of Britain (see: 24: Live Another Day, Star Trek Into Darkness, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Thor: The Dark World, etc). Screenwriter Christian Gudegast (A Man Apart) is responsible for this latest bit of British destruction. Though no release date has been revealed yet, a October start to production is being eyed.
Last Updated: August 20, 2014