Director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Alex Garland are reuniting for 28 Years Later, a sequel to the 2002 film 28 Days Later which is also being shopped as a trilogy.
The new zombie thriller is expected to hit studios, streamers and other potential buyers later this week, according to multiple sources. WME, which reps Boyle and Garland, will take out the package and handle the sale.
The package isn’t just a simple modern sequel installment; the movie already had a follow-up with 28 Weeks Later, released in 2007. The duo were only involved with as executive producers on that film. Now, the hope is to launch a new trilogy.
Boyle is attached to direct the first installment. Garland would write all three. The budget for each movie would be in the $75 million range.
The pair would also produce, as would original producer Andrew Macdonald and Peter Rice, the former head of Fox Searchlight Pictures, the division of onetime studio Twentieth Century Fox that originally backed the British-made movie and its sequel.
The pair have talked publicly about potential sequels over the decades. 28 Months Later was one title bounced around, with 28 Years Later coming into focus as an idea in recent years.
28 Days starred Cillian Murphy, the now-celebrated star of Oppenheimer, as a man who wakes up from a coma after a bicycle accident to find England now a desolate, postapocalyptic collapse, thanks to a virus that turned its victims into raging killers. The man then navigates the landscape, meeting a survivor played by Naomie Harris and a maniacal Army major, played by Christopher Eccleston.
The movie proved to be a surprise and profitable hit but more impactfully, it revitalized the zombie horror genre, kicking off the next decade and a half of zombie movies and shows that remolded the living dead not as slow-moving brain eaters but as ferocious forces of nature. The movie, and its sequel, also centered on the pandemic nature and society’s fragile structure in these kinds of scenarios, topics that resonated in the post-9/11 world. World War Z, Zombieland, The Walking Dead, and Zack Snyder’s remake of Dawn of the Dead and his recent Army of the Dead, all followed 28 Days‘ path.
Separately, the movie also kept propelling the career of Boyle, who would go on to helm Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours, and served as a launching pad for Murphy, who would, a few short years later, make his first movie with Christopher Nolan with Batman Begins.
The precedent and touchstone execs are hoping for is 2015’s Fury Road, which served as George Miller’s return to the violent and action-packed world of Mad Max after a two decade absence. It was a return that was a critical and box office hit.
I loved 28 Days Later, and while feelings are mixed, I didn't mind 28 Weeks Later. I was upset that they killed off Jeremy Renner's character, but nevertheless I enjoyed the film.
Now that Boyle and Garland are back on board after giving us the excellent 28 Days Later, I'm really excited what ideas they have cooked up for their upcoming trilogy, which I'm sure will take inspiration from today's political climate.