Remember The Last Witch Hunter? There’s a good chance you don’t because the movie had a reported $90 million production budget and only went on to accumulate $27.4 million at the domestic box office. While the film’s international haul wasn’t a complete disaster, a worldwide total of $147 million didn’t exactly scream “franchise starter.” But, it turns out, a little over four years after The Last Witch Hunter’s release, the project is still on Vin Diesel’s mind with the star and producer pushing to make a sequel happen.
Diesel led that film as Kaulder, the warrior responsible for killing the Witch Queen (Julie Engelbrecht) 800 years ago. The thing is though, before she goes, she puts an immortality curse on Kaulder. So, cut to the present day with Kaulder working for the Axe and Cross, a group dedicated to stopping witches. All is going well enough until Dolan the 36th (Michael Caine) is attacked and Kaulder discovers the Witch Queen is behind it.
While chatting with Diesel for his March 13th release Bloodshot, I asked him how he forges forward when a passion project doesn’t pan out as hoped. Using The Last Witch Hunter as an example, Diesel explained:
“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.”
From the distributor perspective, big budget movies finding an audience kind of has to happen during the theatrical rollout to justify the expense. But Diesel does make a good point when you consider how accessible movies become thanks to streaming and VOD platforms after their big screen runs. If getting eyes on your finished product is the main concern, box office receipts aren’t the be all, end all:
“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!’”
You know what that “wow” reaction has lead to? Discussions about a Last Witch Hunter 2:
“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. But it’s funny that you mentioned Last Witch Hunter because I’m in a meeting with Lionsgate and they’re actively creating the sequel to The Last Witch Hunter.”
So there you have it! There’s some movement over at Lionsgate on The Last Witch Hunter 2.