Back in May, I reported that a ZOMBIELAND sequel was looking likely with original cast members Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin all returning with a potential 2019 release date for the movie. Now it appears that ZOMBIELAND 2 is a go. THR confirms that the four leads will be returning for the sequel. Additionally, Ruben Fleischer is back on board to direct from a script by original screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. Gavin Polone will return to produce.
Additionally, the production is eyeing a January 2019 start date, and will be released in theaters in October 2019, just in time for the 10th anniversary of the original movie. While the original wasn’t a massive hit when it was released in 2009—$75 million domestic and $102 million worldwide—that was a huge victory when you consider its budget was only $25 million. It was an even bigger victory when you consider that Eisenberg and Stone hadn’t become A-list stars yet, and now Eisenberg is an Oscar-nominated actor while Stone is an Oscar-winner. Most importantly, the movie picked up a cult following on DVD, and while that market doesn’t exist anymore, those fans still do.
So what will happen in the sequel? Per THR, “The new movie will once again put the focus on comic mayhem, taking the quartet from the White House to the American heartland as they face off against new kinds of zombies that have evolved since the first movie, as well as some new human survivors. But, most of all, according to the studio, they have to face the growing pains of their own snarky, makeshift family.”
It’s kind of remarkable that a sequel is happening given the career trajectory of all involved. A sequel to a comedy is also a risky proposition, especially with a decade of time built up to cement the original as a favorite in the hearts of fans. It’s going to be a heavy lift to make the sequel worth the wait, but at least everyone is returning to try and make it happen.