There were two White House action movies last year, and one of them has earned itself a sequel. Surprisingly it isn't the more trumpeted White House Down, but its more straight-faced rival Olympus Has Fallen (which did similar worldwide box office but cost half as much to make). Announced last autumn, Gerard Butler is returning as the dogged Secret Service agent Mike Banning for London Has Fallen. The developing film has just been picked up by Focus Features, for a release date of October 2 next year.
Current intelligence has it that the follow-up sees Banning accompanying his president to a British state funeral, resulting from the mysterious death of the Prime Minister. Sorry, Dave. World leaders from far and wide are in attendance, but it turns out that it's all a dastardly scheme to get them in one place for a mass assassination and a seismic change to the world order. Only Banning, the Pres and a distrustful MI6 agent can put a stop to the madness.
Our immediate thought there is that it sounds like the first ten minutes of The Naked Gun. There is, however, definite scope for that MI6 agent to be an entertaining Bond cipher (parody?), and he's also clearly been introduced to undercut too much Team America-type nonsense. Given the right tone, London Has Fallen could be a winner. Antoine Fuqua's original wasn't without humour, but it was of a much drier variety than Roland Emmerich's bombast-buster. Maybe this one has taken some tips and is intending to go broader...
Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedict have once again written the screenplay, this time in cahoots with Christian Gudegast (A Man Apart). The expectation is that Aaron Eckhart will also be back as President Benjamin Asher, although that's not yet confirmed. Butler is among a raft of producers that also includes The Expendables' Danny and Avi Lerner, but there's no director in place yet.