Netflix has dropped a bombshell on the film industry by purchasing the rights to two “Knives Out” sequels for a reported $450 million (via Variety). While news broke in February 2020 that director Rian Johnson was officially developing “Knives Out 2” with leading star Daniel Craig, now comes word the two collaborators are set to make a “Knives Out 2” and a “Knives Out 3” for the streaming platform. The reported $450 million price tag makes the Netflix deal the biggest film purchase in history, and it’s around double the budget of the streamer’s “The Gray Man,” which at over $200 million is the most expensive Netflix original film to date. However, a representative for Netflix tells IndieWire that the deal is accurate, but the figures reported elsewhere are not.
Deadline adds that “the first picture will begin shooting June 28 in Greece, and casting will begin immediately.”
The “Knives Out” deal gives Netflix a new franchise to call its own. The first “Knives Out” was distributed by Lionsgate in November 2019 and became a word-of-mouth box office sensation, grossing $311 million worldwide. It’s increasingly rare for an original property to breakout at the box office in such a big way, so it was no surprise when in February 2020 the news came that Johnson and Craig were moving forward with “Knives Out 2.”
“Knives Out” stars Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc, a master detective who investigates the murder of a wealthy crime novelist. The original film featured an ensemble cast, including Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette,, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, and the late Christopher Plummer. In “Knives Out 2” and “Knives Out 3,” Craig’s Benoit Blanc will investigate new murder mysteries.
On top of the box office success, “Knives Out” proved strong enough to become an awards player during the 2020 Oscar season. The film was nominated for three Golden Globes (Best Motion Picture Comedy or Musical, Best Actor in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical for Daniel Craig, and Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical for Ana de Armas) and Johnson was Oscar nominated for Best Original Screenplay.
Even before “Knives Out” opened in theaters, Johnson always envisioned it becoming a franchise of standalone mysteries. “I’ll tell you, the truth is I had such a great time working with Daniel Craig and I had so much fun doing this on every level, from writing it to making it,” Johnson said in September 2019 shortly after the film’s TIFF world premiere. “I’ve never really been interested in doing sequels, but this, the idea of doing more of these with Daniel as his character, is not sequels. It’s just what Agatha Christie did. It’s just coming up with a whole new mystery, a whole new location, all new cast, whole new mechanics of the appeal of a mystery and everything. It’d be a blast.”
IndieWire has reached out to Netflix for further comment.