It was said to be two years to get a follow-up to District 9, yet we have been waiting 12 years for the District 9 sequel. That being said, we got something of an update when director and writer Neill Blomkamp told The Hollywood Reporter last week (August 17) about what fans should expect and where he is in the process. One thing is for sure; it will be “as stripped-down and bare-bones” as he can possibly make it.
The idea for Neill Blomkamp is about how sequels often try to get too much bigger. He recognizes what made District 9 such a huge hit and wants it to be worth the wait for fans. The District 9 sequel will require the script he is writing to strike a good balance as more stuff happening on paper will result in needing a bigger budget. If he can hit his goal, then it should make the film more “nimble” and “creative,” which is what he is striving toward.
These are fitting ideas for what Neill Blomkamp is known for. His latest horror project Demonic and his sci-fi ventures like District 9 and Chappie showcase how the filmmaker utilizes his special effects on a lower budget. To this day, people rave about District 9‘s looks as its CGI was as good as even the biggest blockbusters had delivered. Its style and techniques made for a movie that has aged far better than most that were released in the years around its time. The District 9 sequel would have to hold up along the same lines.
With the release of Demonic, the latest release from Neill Blomkamp, maybe he can finally deliver the District 9 sequel. The first film was his feature-length debut, and it was held as a masterpiece with four Oscar nominations. Unfortunately, his following films have not hit that same critical note since. Elysium received middling reviews and did not perform well at the box office with its $115 million budget and $286 million global return. Chappie was praised for its visuals but was heavily panned overall due to its narrative issues. It also performed poorly as it had a $49 million budget and received $102 million at the box office. Demonic only recently came out in theaters on August 20 and VOD on August 27, and it has received the worst reviews out of the director’s filmography.
The District 9 sequel will hopefully be the redemption that Neill Blomkamp needs. He will rejoin with co-writer Terri Tatchell (Chappie) to write the long-awaited sequel. It will maintain the social significance of the first, or at least will attempt it. District 9 grabbed people with its themes and commentary on apartheid, and its sequel will tackle a piece of American history, although he has not clarified what he means. To him, it fits in the world he has built with Tatchell. So, at least we can expect a visual spectacle that mixes sci-fi action and thought-provoking commentary.
On top of the Oscar nominations that Neill Blomkamp and his team had gotten for District 9, the film received $210 million worldwide at the box office, making it a major success considering this seemingly large production had a modest $30 million budget.