“Building the brand” is a phrase you’ll hear tossed around marketing and PR offices, and also on Hollywood lots. Franchising is the name of the game and it seems everything these days gets a sequel or is set up for a sequel. Even if a movie wasn’t originally envisioned to be a brand builder, if it’s successful, executives want to figure out a way to keep that money train rolling.
And so we get to “Contagion,” Steven Soderbergh‘s brainy virus thriller that not only pulled in solid reviews, but a pretty nice $135 million worldwide. Certainly nothing to sneeze at (ha), so of course Warner Bros. is apparently putting out an OWA (open writing assignment) for a “Contagion 2.” So if you’ve got a great idea of a followup to the film, now’s your chance. We’re not against the idea in theory, we just think it’s going to be a pretty hard nut to crack, especially considering the unique tone and feel that Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns brought to their film. That said, Burns will be acting as a producer on the project while Soderbergh isn’t confirmed, and we highly doubt will be involved. He’s heading into a hiatus with “The Bitter Pill” shooting now and “Behind The Candelabra” lensing this summer, marking his last effort behind the camera, at least for now.
All this said, this is a long time from happening, if it happens at all. WB and Burns will hear pitches and we’d wager it would have to be a helluva good one to move ahead. Maybe a followup centered around Jude Law‘s shifty blogger/crusader? We wouldn’t be opposed… But essentially, they are toying with the idea at the moment, but this could just as easily die on the vine. So, no need to freak out, but more of just a heads up. “Contagion” could be coming back around. [IOTG]