It may have taken almost 10 years but Zombieland is ready to open its doors again.
After many rumors and much speculation, Sony Pictures has reunited the cast of its 2009 surprise hit — including Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin — for Zombieland 2.
Ruben Fleischer, who directed the original and who is behind the studio’s Spider-Man-centric fall tentpole, Venom, is returning to the helmer’s chair.
Original Zombieland writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, who have in the intervening years found success as the writers of the irreverent and successful Deadpool franchise, are also back, having penned the script for the new project. Additionally, Gavin Polone is returning as producer.
While rumors of the sequel have risen from the dead several times over the years, this time Sony really means it: The film is set to begin production in January 2019 and will be released in October 2019, in time for the 10th anniversary of the original movie.
Zombieland was a horror comedy road movie that followed four strangers who meet and eventually bond during a post-apocalyptic zombie outbreak. Eisenberg played a geeky survivor named Columbus, Harrelson was the violent Tallahassee, Stone and Breslin were sneaky sisters Wichita and Little Rock, respectively. (In the movie, the monikers were a means to prevent others getting too close to someone who could die anytime while the town itself meant something personal to the character who chose his or her name.)
The original movie grossed only $75 million domestically and racked up a worldwide total of $102.3 million worldwide. Not only did it win over critics, but it also became a cult hit in its post-theatrical life and gained a strong following while also acting as a major launching pad for all involved.
It helped that the budget for the movie was just under $24 million.
While Sony wouldn’t comment on the budget for the sequel, we can speculate that it will be more. In the years since, all the actors became Academy Award nominees, with Stone winning for her performance in 2016’s La La Land. Columbia Pictures president Sanford Panitch had this to say in a statement:
“This is one of those projects that fans have wanted to see happen for a long time – and no one wanted to see it happen more than Emma, Woody, Jesse, and Abigail. These are some of the most in-demand actors and I think they are making this movie because they love these characters. We are thrilled Ruben was willing to come back to direct the sequel, as his work on Venom has been truly amazing.”
The new movie will once again put the focus on comic mayhem, taking the quartet from the White House to the American heartland as they face off against new kinds of zombies that have evolved since the first movie, as well as some new human survivors. But, most of all, according to the studio, they have to face the growing pains of their own snarky, makeshift family.