On the one hand, it’s a $90 million project from a high-profile filmmaker that is based on an international best-selling novel that has only grossed $60 million in the U.S. so far; on the other hand, it’s an extremely adults-only, R-Rated murder mystery full of graphic content and fatalistic atmosphere that’s been generating excellent word-of-mouth. So, those financial returns are about as good as one could (reasonably) expect.
Nonetheless, there’s been some question as to whether or not Sony is actively pressing ahead with an adaptation of the next installment in author Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, The Girl Who Played with Fire, because of Dragon Tattoo‘s so-so box office performance. According to EW, that is in fact the case.
A Sony representative informed the publication that Girl Who Played with Fire remains on-target for a late 2013 release date. Dragon Tattoo leads Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig are likewise reportedly already signed on to reprise their roles as Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist, respectively, in both the sequel and the (for now, theoretical) third franchise chapter, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.
Dragon Tattoo writer Steve Zaillian is in the early stage of scripting Girl Who Played with Fire, which Fincher has the option to direct. While he has not yet committed to the project, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker has admitted that (should he sign on) he would prefer to shoot both the second and third Millennium book adaptations back-to-back, for both practical and artistic purposes.
Fincher’s take on Dragon Tattoo has been playing very well with professional critics and casual moviegoers alike; similarly, it ranked pretty high on our favorite 2011 movies list. That sets it apart from relatively recent costly studio franchise titles that only did so-so business in theaters in comparison to their actual production budget, but were also critical duds (ex. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, TRON: Legacy)… and yet, sequels to both are being developed, with G.I. Joe 2 having already completed production.
In addition, Dragon Tattoo should continue to play well during the slow-going month of January and will probably (*knock on wood*) manage to snag a handful of Oscar nods in the near future – which will also help keep it in the limelight.
That’s all to say: Dragon Tattoo may not be a box office smash, but it should ultimately prove to be profitable enough to ensure that Sony doesn’t abandon its franchise plans.
We will continue to keep you updated on the status of The Girl Who Played with Fire as the story develops.
Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.