MRC and Lionsgate are developing a sequel to “The Blackening,” the hit horror-comedy from Dewayne Perkins and Tracy Oliver.
After the microbudget production (just $5 million) made more than $18 million at the box office, producer MRC and domestic distributor Lionsgate have entered into talks with Perkins, Oliver and producer E. Brian Dobbins to develop a follow-up film.
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Directed by Tim Story and co-written by Perkins and Oliver, “The Blackening” follows a group of college friends who reunite for Juneteenth weekend and are hunted by a killer who asks them to determine who is the Blackest among them — lampooning the common horror movie trope that sees the Black character die first. Perkins initially conceived the story as a sketch for his comedy troupe 3Peat, which developed into a short for Comedy Central, before Oliver reached out to develop it into a feature.
The project premiered in 2022 as a TIFF Midnight Madness selection, where it was embraced by a raucous audience and landed a rich distribution deal from Lionsgate. “The Blackening” hit theaters over Juneteenth weekend, grossing $2.5 million in its first day of release on its way to a $6 million opening weekend haul. That figure becomes more impressive when you consider that the horror-comedy’s production budget was only $3 million (the final tally comes to $5 million after factoring in P&A).
In an interview, Oliver told Variety that “The Blackening’s” success has been empowering: “I keep telling the cast and other writers, there’s money out there. $3 million is a lot easier to come by than $20-50 million. We don’t have to necessarily wait for a studio to say ‘Yes’ anymore. For a Black person, that’s inspiring.”
There’s no word on the plot for the sequel, but Perkins told Variety that he envisions “The Blackening” as a franchise, akin to a “Scary Movie”-esque series versus the “Knives Out” style with a new cast for each mystery.
“Same group, sprinkle in some new people,” he explained. “I feel like we’ve got something good, and I love the dynamic, but fresh blood always turns things up a little bit.”
“The Blackening” stars Antoinette Robertson, Perkins, Sinqua Walls, Grace Byers, X Mayo, Melvin Gregg, Jermaine Fowler, Yvonne Orji and Jay Pharoah. Marcei A. Brown, Jason Clark, Dobbins, Oliver, Story, and Sharla Sumpter Bridgett produced. Perkins serves as a co-producer, with Vicky Story as associate producer.
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