A sequel to “The Woman in Black” must seem like a wonderful idea to an accountant somewhere out there. That’s despite the first film telling a very complete story. That’s despite the movie’s source material not having a sequel. That’s despite the fact that Daniel Radcliffe, director James Watkins, and screenwriter Jane Goldman will not be returning. No, it’s because the first film has grossed close to $130 million worldwide from an estimated $15 million budget, and those are the kind of numbers that are hard for the money men to ignore.
So the presumption has been made that audiences will return despite the absence of Radcliffe (who you could argue was the primary box office driving force in his first major post-Potter role) and, for better or worse, “The Woman in Black: Angel of Death” is on its way and a director has now been hired. Jon Croker (script editor on the original and writer of “Desert Dancer”) has already written a treatment that picks up on the story four decades later during World War II, when a group of evacuated children are taken to Eel Marsh House, and Tom Harper is the man who has been selected to direct.
Harper directed the impressive indie feature “The Scouting Book For Boys” as well as episodes of acclaimed British dramas “Misfits” and “This is England ’86,” and that means he’s got Shane Meadows’ seal of approval which is good enough for us. So while the idea for a “Woman in Black” sequel may have come about for the wrong reasons, we’re actually getting to be cautiously optimistic about it. The story idea is pretty interesting and Harper seems like a good directorial choice – all they need to do know is convince Daniel Radcliffe to be involved in any small way (flashback footage!) and they might just be able to repeat the first film’s success critically and commercially.