The sleeper hit of 2019 goes to Knives Out, one of only a handful of major releases not tied to a franchise or developed from a previous work of any sort. The Rian Johnson murder mystery starred a murderer's row of stars from Jamie Lee Curtis to Chris Evans, to Chris Evans' sweater, in an Agatha Christie-esque whodunit. The film, which was made on a $40 million budget, crossed the $200 million mark before New Year's with a 97% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. So naturally, a Knives Out sequel is reportedly in the works, with Johnson penning a new script.
Knives Out, which opened just before Thanksgiving, made back its cost on opening weekend, making $41 million over the five day period. In most cases, that would have been the end of the story. Blockbuster franchise films like Frozen II and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker were expected to suck all the oxygen out of the room, while Oscar-bait like Little Women and Cats dominated the rest of the season.
But Frozen II petered out before Christmas, Star Wars was super divisive, Little Women discovered it had a man problem, and Cats was a disaster of startling proportions. Meanwhile, Knives Out was the little movie that could, drawing in packed houses all through the holidays.
In this day and age, no one brings in those kinds of numbers without turning themselves into a franchise. And while Knives Out 2 is not confirmed as of yet, Rian Johnson is ready to turn his leading man, Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), into the 21st century's answer to Poirot.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter during the run-up to the Golden Globes red carpet, Johnson revealed he was already hard at work developing a new script for Blanc's next case. His producing partner, Ram Bergman, was quoted as saying: "Daniel had so much fun doing it, and he wants to do more." Considering Craig's turn as James Bond is expected to wrap up with April's No Time To Die, he's ripe to head up founding a brand new franchise.
Johnson reportedly hopes to get it greenlit quickly and have the next film released by 2021. This is much how Agatha Christie initially got her famous detective Hercule Poirot off the ground in the 1920s, by churning out mystery novels at the rate of one a year. Johnson has named checked Christie as one of his inspirations for the Knives Out film, so it's not surprising he wants to follow the same strategy.
Fans will have to wait and see if and when Knives Out 2 is a go. Here's to more Blanc mysteries.