In 2013, Olympus has Fallen had the distinction of being the first of two movies in a span of four months to destroy the White House. It was, at its core, an invasion movie, where terrorists attempt to decimate the White House’s very prestigious population, and have absolute control over the whole of America, even thought their purpose is mainly to reunify Korea. Yes, the terrorists are none other than North Koreans, because who else can serve as a satisfying villain with a strong motive? With a budget of $70 million, it managed to earn $98.9 million over the course of its domestic run, after a $30.4 million opening, and a worldwide cumulative total of $161.0 million. That was enough to qualify as a hit for FilmDistrict, which is sadly defunct as of today. Oh, and Antoine Fuqua helmed that film, and if that name kinda sounds familiar, that’s because he brought you The Equalizer and Southpaw. As typically done whenever a film suceeds, Olympus has Fallen is indeed spawning a sequel, titled London has Fallen, only serving to remind you- The President is the worst job you can ever get. And whoever’s in charge of the President’s security, just quit while you have the chance.
London has Fallen has several returning cast members, in the name of Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman and Aaron Eckhart. Probably with the hopes of having greater international grosses and appeal, this sequel is taking things abroad to London, and it’s definitely much more appealing to see London being bombed up, rather than a building (no matter how iconic it turns out to be). In Fuqua’s place this time, though, is Babak Najafi, who hasn’t proved his action moviemaking chops just yet.
Early in July, the first official teaser trailer premiered, promising much more of the same, and of course massive sets and destruction as well, due to the boosted budget. However, one question applies- will people still stay interested and invested?
One major reason why Olympus has Fallen succeeded was due to its plot- a White House invasion movie hasn’t really been made before into a 2 hour movie, and even if it was, it was mostly used as a small plot device which could have been easily replaced. Patriotism might have also attributed to its surprise opening domestically. However, with overseas locales now serving as a basis, will this film still have as much appeal to American moviegoers?
One bet this film is taking would be to believe that people loved the series. They would willingly return to watch Gerard Butler again, being as bad-ass as before. Yes, Olympus has Fallen had a fantastic post opening weekend performance. Despite dropping 53.4% in its second weekend, its successive weekends had dips under 40%, at least until week 6 of release. Its third and fourth weekends both saw drips under 30%. This indicated lots of repeat business and strong word of mouth, which was more or less a given after an A- cinemascore. In yet another example of Hollywood’s new model being ‘sequels must be bigger in scale’, though, it seems like one problem might plague this film, which Olympus has Fallen definitely did not encounter- why this film be any more original?
We have seen plenty of big-budget destruction movies over the years, with an occasional savior or two. Unlike Olympus has Fallen, which resorted to using a plot which requires the president to be rescued from the White House, London has Fallen is going straight to ‘destroy the city’. In the marketing and trailer, which you can view below, we see a couple of London locales being bombed up, including the Big Ben, a couple of bridges, the Palace of Westminster, a couple of random buildings alongside cars flipping, something typically seen in action movies these days. Unlike Olympus has Fallen, which tried to keep things confined, it looks like this film is going big.
Yes, this film is going to resonate with all those international moviegoers and big budget explosion popcorn movie fans out there, who will turn up in droves. Focus Features has set this film for nationwide release domestically on January 22 2016, which is usually quiet on popcorn entertainment, which definitely helps this film excel in a month filled with junk or leftovers, or risking endeavors. On its opening weekend, it will be facing off with an array of new wide openings- Criminal, The Boy and Risen. Competition will be light for those wanting to catch a movie, and in this account I believe that London has Fallen can succeed.
However, beating Olympus has Fallen’s $30 million domestic opening by a large margin seems difficult. Not that the task is impossible, but even if it does, its end gross doesn’t look to differ much from the former film. Its when international numbers are accounted for does this film shine- it looks to have lots of international appeal, and it will definitely have a strong chance of making a run at $100 million internationally. And that’s not forgetting this is an R-rated film. Regardless, the teaser trailer definitely built tons of hype while playing to the creepy re-imagining of the classic nursery rhyme ‘London Bridge is Falling Down’.
To end off, here’s the trailer: