One of the more surprising box office hits of last year was the magician adventure pic Now You See Me. The film had a solid opening weekend, but it continued to do swell business in the ensuing weeks, going on to gross $351.7 million worldwide against a budget of $75 million. As with most successful studio films where everyone doesn’t die at the end, Summit Entertainment began to move forward on a prospective sequel. Following the official Now You See Me 2 announcement, Summit expressed its desire to begin filming in 2014, and while director Louis Leterrier was expected to return, he’s currently busy gearing up to helm the action-comedy Grimsby. As such, Summit is on the hunt for a new director for the magician sequel, and G.I. Joe: Retaliation helmer Jon M. Chu is reportedly at the top of their list. More after the jump.
Per The Wrap, Jon M. Chu has emerged as the frontrunner to take over the director’s chair on the sequel Now You See Me 2. Nearly the entire cast from the first film—Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, and Mark Ruffalo—are expected to return for the follow-up (the studio likely had options on their contracts for a sequel), but plot details for the film are unknown at this point.
Chu made the step up to blockbuster features with the action sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation after helming the dance-centric Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up 3D, and the concert documentary Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. The filmmaker most recently wrapped an indie adaptation of the 1980s cartoon Jem and the Holograms, and was attached to come back for G.I. Joe 3, but Dwayne Johnson previously told us that the filmmaker won’t be returning for the Hasbro sequel.
One of my biggest issues with Now You See Me was that most of the magic was done using CG effects, making it seem all the more fake. The cast appeared to be having fun (though Fisher had all but four or five lines in the entire film), but I’m not exactly itching to see a follow-up and I’ll admit Chu’s involvement doesn’t really make the prospect seem more enticing. If Chu does land the job, I would hope to see more emphasis on practical effects and character work rather than trying to structure the entire film as one big magic trick.
What about you, readers? Were you a fan of Now You See Me? Would Chu be your choice to helm the follow-up? What other alternative filmmakers would you propose? Sound off in the comments below.