More Original Horror Films Get IP Treatment: ‘It Follows’ and ‘The Black Phone’ Land Sequels

Update Mon. Oct. 30: After “The Black Phone” just scored a sequel last week, yet another original horror movie is getting a follow-up: Neon’s indie horror darling and new cult classic “It Follows” (2014). Neon will begin production on “They Follow” in 2024, with the original’s star Maika Monroe set to return for the sequel exactly 10 years since the first film.

David Robert Mitchell, who wrote and directed the original horror installment, is returning to write and direct the sequel. He’s also a producer alongside the original film’s producer David Kaplan, Erik Rommesmo, Rebecca Green, and Laura Smith. Additionally producing are Jake Weiner and Chris Bender of Good Fear Content.

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Neon will launch international sales on the title at the upcoming American Film Market and is co-producing alongside Good Fear Content. CAA Media Finance brokered the deal with Neon.

No plot details for the sequel have been unveiled yet, but the original grappled with a young woman (Monroe) having a one-night stand and discovering that she was then being pursued by an unknown supernatural force, one that was capable of taking the form of any anonymous individual that slowly stalks her. The film was part of an indie, prestige horror boom in the 2010s; it grossed $15 million domestically.

Director Mitchell is currently in development on an Untitled Warner Bros. and Bad Robot project with Anne Hathaway. Actress Monroe recently wrapped production on “Longlegs,” which stars Nicolas Cage and is also a Neon 2024 release.

The Black Phone
“The Black Phone”Universal/screenshot

Original story, Friday October 27

Another original horror film is getting the IP treatment, and it’s possible that Blumhouse has yet another franchise on its hands. Universal and Blumhouse have announced a release date for “The Black Phone 2,” a sequel to Scott Derrickson’s horror movie from last year.

Universal has set the film for release on June 27, 2025, but no creatives have been announced on the sequel, so it’s unclear if director Derrickson or star Ethan Hawke would return.

“The Black Phone” was based on a short story by Joe Hill and followed a 13-year-old boy (Mason Thames) kidnapped by a sadistic, masked killer played by Hawke. Hawke’s character trapped the boy in a soundproof basement, but the boy was able to hear a disconnected phone ringing that allowed him to communicate with the voices of the killer’s previous victims, all of whom want to help the boy escape.

The movie was produced by Jason Blum for Blumhouse, Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill. It was a modest box office hit and brought in $161 million worldwide.

The movie’s box office performance showed that there was an appetite for original horror stories, with movies like “Barbarian” and Blumhouse’s “M3GAN” both making money. And each of those are also now being franchised, with “Barbarian” getting a video game adaptation, and “M3GAN 2.0” already dated for January 2025. This year’s A24 indie horror hit “Talk to Me” is also due for a sequel, “Talk 2 Me.”

Director Derrickson has said in interviews upon the film’s release that he had spoken with the short story writer Hill about doing more with “The Black Phone” characters, if not a direct sequel. But he acknowledged that horror consistently is the one genre capable of spawning franchises out of original ideas, be it “Paranormal Activity” or “A Quiet Place.”

“It’s not something that is innately exciting to me, in the case of this story. I’m interested in the characters that we created, and I think there’s a tone to the movie that is unique and can be expanded upon,” Derrickson said. “So possibly, we’ll see. You never know, but I’m certainly not closed off to the idea.”

Blumhouse has had two films this month each test audiences’ appetites for IP. The one, “The Exorcist: Believer” from the team behind the “Halloween” rebooted trilogy, has disappointed at the box office thus far, bringing in $111 million worldwide since opening on Oct. 6 after Blumhouse spent a reported $400 million to acquire the rights to reboot the franchise. “The Exorcist” too is meant to have two more sequels as part of a trilogy.

The other, “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” is based on a popular video game franchise but is coming to the screen for the first time. It has already made $10 million in Thursday preview screenings and is looking at a $50+ million opening weekend. A sequel to that one could easily be next.

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