There's been no official statement so far, but it seems as if The Purge - which has yet to even open in the States - has already ticked all the right boxes to kick off a franchise. The dystopian home-invasion horror thriller starring Ethan Hawke already has a sequel in the works: The Purge 2 appears on a list of 31 film and TV projects picked by lottery for a slice of the California Film Commision's $100m tax credit allocation.
Other recipients of the lucky breaks include the fifth season of Justified, the fourth season of MTV's Teen Wolf, and Warners' Entourage movie. Of the 14 films on the list, two are studio projects and the other 12, including The Purge 2, are indies.
The Purge is a curious one... It entered this week's UK box office in sixth place with just over a million quid in tickets (Hangover III was top with £3m), and is receiving tepid advance word-of-mouth on the other side of the Atlantic. The main issues seem to be with its premise, a satirical slant that seems to be eluding many audiences.
The film posits a future in which gun-nut America has been allowed an annual cathartic 12-hour murder frenzy - the purge of the title - to boost the economy and keep the crime rates down. Background news debates throughout the film argue whether or not the dark new system is just an opportunity to keep down the welfare bill by killing the poor. Was writer/director James DeMonaco inspired by The Dead Kennedys? We'd like to believe so.
While the film itself is self-contained, there's certainly potential mileage in other stories taking place on other Purge nights: an anthology format could see the premise run and run. It could also profitably open out from the original's housebound setting, and there's scope for paying a lot more attention to the mysterious, never seen, "New Founding Fathers" who have taken power in America and laid down this new high-concept law.
Whatever, it's very early days, to the extent that producer Jason Blum told BD last night he'd "love the opportunity to make a sequel, but there's nothing to announce yet." Seems like the cat's already out of that bag, but perhaps The Purge's US performance will dictate what comes next. It's out in the States tomorrow, and is still on general release in the UK.