Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters didn’t exactly light the domestic box office on fire when it was released in January, but it’s become a quiet hit in foreign markets. As such, Paramount and MGM have begun to develop a sequel to the movie, which stars Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as the title characters.
It’s unknown whether or not that duo will return for a sequel, as development is in its earliest stages. Considering how studios have franchise fever these days, it’s not unlikely that the two are contractually obligated to return.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Kevin Messick, and Beau Flynn are expected to return as producers. The first film marked the English language debut of Dead Snow director Tommy Wirkola, who also hatched the film’s idea and served as its screenwriter.
The move comes after the film recently crossed the $200 million mark worldwide; while its U.S. take only represents about $50 million of that, the studios are clearly more convinced by the bigger picture here. This is yet another example that proves the power of worldwide box office receipts, a factor that has become increasingly important in recent years.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters follows in the footsteps of Jack Reacher, another movie to watch with a weak domestic reception that found an audience overseas. Early reports pronounced a sequel to that film dead before Paramount revived it once it crossed the $200 million threshold this year.
It also helps that Hansel and Gretel only cost about $50 million to make, so it has been quite profitable for both studios. To call is a surprise hit wouldn’t be a stretch: after all, it was delayed for ten months and then released in January, a notorious dumping ground for movie studios don’t have much faith in.
Stay tuned for further developments on this unexpected sequel; I’m sure the studios’ top priority will be securing the returns of Renner and Arterton, even though both have become breakout stars since the first film started production all the way back in 2011 and now you can watch Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters online.