Did you ever see The Last Witch Hunter? I would forgive you if you hadn’t. The 2015 fantasy-action film starred Vin Diesel as an 800-year old witch hunter cursed with immortality, who works for a mystical order (which includes priests played by Michael Caine and Elijah Wood) that secretly protects the world from dark magic. It was also a gigantic bomb both with critics and at the box office. With $146 million made globally off a budget reportedly as high as $90 million (which, according to Hollywood maths, means it probably just barely broke even) and an average critic score on Metacritic of just 34/100, it was most definitely one of Diesel’s least successful attempts at a franchise.
Here’s the thing though: I kind of liked the movie. And a number of people who I spoke to who had seen it at the time liked it as well. It most definitely wasn’t without fault, but I thought The Last Witch Hunter was a solid enough gritty fantasy romp that did not deserve the critical lambasting it received.
And looking at the fact that the film’s audience score on Metacritic is actually sitting on a much more palatable average of 6.5/10, I’m apparently not alone. Like we’ve seen happen with a few other cases of films that were initially box office duds, the fans of the movie have seemingly been growing due to the film’s availability on VOD/home release, according to what Diesel told Collider.
When a Last Witch Hunter comes out and it doesn’t destroy the box office you, under the old thinking, would go, ‘Well, maybe I should focus on something else.’ But nowadays what’s fascinating is that movies find you somehow.
As an artist, the more experienced I get, the more I am appreciating just the fact that my work somehow finds you and that you get to experience it at your own time and at your own pace, and I’m less concerned – and maybe it’s because of accolades. Maybe it’s because I’m a part of Avengers or I’m a part of Disney, I’m a part of Guardians and I’m a part of Fast and I’ve had so much of that wonderful experience that I think the higher thinking becomes – when people tell me that they love the Witch Hunter, and they want to see Michael Caine and I go into another one, I go, ‘Wow!’
Well, it would appear that “Wow!” has been loud enough to reach all the way up to the exec boardrooms of Hollywood. According to Diesel, despite there being five years of a whole lot of nothing after the release of The Last Witch Hunter, Lionsgate is now mulling over plans for a sequel and have begun very early development.
Lionsgate is coming and saying, ‘We’re putting a writer on for the next one.’ That’s kinda cool! … And this is just recent, by the way… I’m in a meeting with Lionsgate and they’re actively creating the sequel to The Last Witch Hunter.
The original film was directed by Breck Eisner, who had made his big Hollywood debut with 2005’s Sahara. Not only was that film legit terrible, but it was one of the biggest box office bombs of all time, having been estimated to have lost around $103 million. Eisner would turn things around though with his follow-up, the fantastic horror The Crazies, which earned great reviews and turned a tidy profit. But after the (some would argue, unfair) response to The Last Witch Hunter though, more of the same he had on Sahara, Eisner promptly fell off the map. He’s had several projects stall out since then or get stuck in development hell, only nailing the odd directing gig on TV. Maybe now is a time for Eisner to make a big return with a sequel to The Last Witch Hunter? Is a sequel to The Last Witch Hunter something that fans actually want to see though?
Last Updated: March 12, 2020