A follow-up to Fox Searchlight’s “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” is in the works, according to screenwriter Ol Parker. And while the John Madden-directed “Marigold” doesn’t exactly cry out “sequel,” its cast members are no strangers to the concept, especially when it comes to the big-budget variety. Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Celia Imrie all have these less sophisticated efforts under their belts, critics be damned!
Financially, “Marigold” touts the kind of unexpected returns studios relish. Made for $10 million and released in May, the dramedy about the adventures of British retirees who find happiness and a change of perspective at a quirky Indian hotel grossed $46.4 million domestically and nearly $88 million overseas.
Whether or not the “Marigold” sequel has the same effect on moviegoers, one thing’s for sure: It will not be the worst sequel its actors have taken part in. Those honors are reserved for these dubious outings:
“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” (2011)
James Bond franchise aside, Dench’s exhaustive resume includes just one other recent sequel credit — “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.” In her blink-and-you-missed-it cameo, she plays a wealthy woman who receives a surprise visit from Jack Sparrow in her horse-drawn carriage.
“Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” (2011)
As Tom Cruise’s boss in the fourth of the “Mission: Impossible” extravaganzas, Wilkinson meets his maker before the end of the first act. Nevertheless, the film is Wilkinson’s biggest grosser to date ($209 million domestic, per Box Office Mojo) followed by the first of Christopher Nolan’s Batman reboots, “Batman Begins” ($207 million). Another Cruise connection: Wilkinson co-starred with Cruise’s then-wife Katie Holmes in “The Kennedys.”
“Wrath of the Titans” (2012)
Of all the “Marigold” stars, Nighy could be voted “most likely to star in a sequel and/or remake.” He logged his most recent sequel credit earlier this year with “Wrath,” in which he sported a wicked beard playing Hephaestus, fallen God/arms maker extraordinaire. But Nighy’s also been in a couple of “Pirates” movies, multiple “Underworld” films, a “Harry Potter” and “Curse of the Pink Panther” to boot.
“Nanny McPhee Returns” (2010)
She may play high and mighty, but Maggie Smith is not highfalutin when it comes to film roles. The Oscar winner and recent “Downton Abbey” Emmy awardee also has “Nanny McPhee Returns” and “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit” on her resume. And she’s forever cemented in pop culture history as Hogwarts professor Minerva McGonagall in the “Harry Potter” movies.
“Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” (2004)
Veteran Celia Imrie did the sequel thing in 2004 as Auntie Una, an outspoken family friend in “Reason.” Her best line — “You career girls. Can’t pull it off forever. Tick-tock, tick-tock.” — unwittingly foretold the general sentiment towards the Renee Zellweger franchise (and, sadly, Zellweger’s career itself).