Earlier this summer, things didn’t look good for Sony and Michel Gondry‘s “The Green Hornet.” Geek reception to the early trailers were not good and the decision to retrofit the film to 3D (a move Gondry defends as being planned from day one) coupled with a January release date spelled disaster in the eyes of many, but it appears that sentiment may change.
The LA Times reports that Sony is feeling good — very good — about the film. The film had a test screening earlier in the week in Long Beach and word is that it went over like gangbusters. According to the random people who got to see a comic book movie for free, the film scored a 93 rating in the section of the score cards where people rated the film “excellent” or “very good.” 83% would “definitely recommend” the film and perhaps most intriguing of all, Sony chief Amy Pascal was apparently overheard talking about plans for a sequel.
But before everyone has a collective nerdgasm, let’s slow the train down just a bit. Firstly, test audiences are notoriously unreliable and temperamental. Some directors swear by them, others hate it. That being said, high test scores are indeed a rarity and definitely sought after, so the fact that “The Green Hornet” is connecting with a geek audience is very important to Sony and a good sign for them (though it remains to be seen if the comic faithful will be convinced). However, the idea of a potential sequel isn’t exactly new.
Way back during the madness that was Comic-Con, we caught up with screenwriter Evan Goldberg (who wrote the film with its star and “Superbad” collaborator Seth Rogen) and when we asked point blank, “are you considering a ‘Green Hornet 2’ yet?” He gave an emphatic yes response: “You don’t make a movie like this without considering the sequel. Yeah, we have the whole plot planned out, which is kind of what we would have done in the first place.”
And so while the seeds of a sequel seem to have been in place for a while, and though Sony may be tentatively considering the possibilities of second film, they will undoubtedly be waiting for the biggest determining factor: opening weekend grosses. The film is about two months away from release, which seems like a long time, but if you factor in the Christmas rush and post holiday malaise and general downtime, it leaves a very small and very competitive window for the studio to rev their marketing machine engines again. The film will definitely need another major marketing push to remind everyone that it’s coming out and to give the picture another boost of confidence from the studio. But when the film opens on January 14, 2011 — a tough weekend as it squares off against the Ron Howard rom-com “The Dilemma” — it will be seen if the studio can turn the film into a “Spider-Man“-sized success that will play to all quadrants or if it will suffer the fate of something like “Kick-Ass,” which pretty much played strictly to its core audience. With at least $100 million riding on this, Sony is definitely hoping the gamble of centering a comic franchise on untested action lead Seth Rogen and auteur Michel Gondry pays off big.