No one really expected “300” to become as big of a box office hit as it became. The highly-stylized R-rated epic took in over $450 million worldwide, helped establish March as one of the one new tentpole months (and served as the launchpad for Zack Snyder‘s followup films “Watchmen” and “Sucker Punch“) and started the Hollywood gold rush to adapting graphic novels en masse. So naturally, a sequel has long been eyed. Last summer Snyder and Kurt Johnstad started penning the script, and at WonderCon over the weekend, the always chatty “Immortals” producer Mark Canton provided a few updates on where the project was at starting with the title.
Well, it’s no longer going to be called “Xerxes” for starters, but as for a new title? “We don’t know yet,” Canton told MTV. And with Snyder now busy with Supes pretty much until the end of 2012, a new director will likely take his place. “Soon we’ll know what we’re doing. But I don’t see us waiting two years to make the movie and Zack is very much at the helm of it at the same time,” Canton added, seeming to infer that the “300” director will still keep an eye on the project.
We also had a chance to speak with Canton and WonderCon and he notes that they’ve been taking their time and deliberately have avoided cranking out a followup even though they could have. “We’ve been very, very, very careful to say the least. We could have made the sequel four years ago, but that’s a movie that the pop culture around the world embraced and so we always wanted to do it well and now we’re on the track to do something great.”
With the script now delivered, Canton thinks the project is nearly camera ready. “I feel like it’s gonna happen and we’re close,” he said.
As Frank Miller revealed back in June, “Xerxes” will start at the battle of Marathon a decade before Thermopylae, and “will be the same heft as ‘300’ but it covers a much, much greater span of time — it’s 10 years, not three days. This is a more complex story … so much larger.” It features gods and warriors galore (Xerxes is pursuing godhood), and Miller hinted at a potentially massive set piece involving either or both of the Athenian and Persian naval fleets.
It will be interesting to see who takes the reins for the sequel and if they will merely emulate the style of the last film, or make it somewhat their own. But if swords-and-sandals spectacle is what you’re looking for you won’t have to wait too long — the Mark Canton produced “Immortals” directed by Tarsem Singh lands on November 11th.