When a $9 million movie makes over $150 million at the box office, you can bet that movie’s getting a sequel. Luckily, the surprise 2019 hit “Escape Room” left things all set up for a follow-up, coming this summer in “Escape Room 2: Tournament of Champions.” The first “Escape Room” hit theatres in January 2019, where it turned a massive profit in the face of little opposition.
With that kind of success, few were surprised when it was announced the next month that work had already begun on a sequel to “Escape Room.” Deadline reported that studio Sony Pictures Releasing had tapped director Adam Robitel and two of his creative colleagues on the movie, screenwriter Bragi F. Schut and producer Neal H. Moritz, to get to work on “Escape Room 2,” tentatively set for release on April 17, 2020.
Sony executives were evidently blown away by the film’s success. The first “Escape Room” received only modest compliments from viewers — as of June 2021, the first movie has a 51% ranking from critics and audiences both. But the fact that the movie made so much money in spite of those middling reviews made it an easy decision to greenlight and fast-track a sequel.
ESCAPE ROOM 2 Official Trailer (2021)
After all, it’s not every day that a movie made for less than $10 million makes more than 15 times that amount at the box office. Two months went by before anyone heard much else about the impending “Escape Room” movie. Then, in April 2019, Robitel sat down for an exclusive interview with Bloody Disgusting and gave audiences their first hint of where the sequel might be going.
That includes expanding the mythology behind the evil Minos organization behind the original movie’s escape room, which he referred to as a Machiavellian company that knows everything about you. The filmmaker said, “It was tough admittedly to pull back the veil and I know some people are like oh, this is about rich people watching people get killed, but there’s some cool mythology that we’re trying to bring in the second movie.
I think the fact that they could hijack a plane, whether it’s literal or figurative, there’s something cool about that. It’s pushed for sure but we think hopefully the audience is going for the ride.” “This is way bigger than last time.” “We’ve gotta try something, right?” “N-no, no, no!” The Hollywood landscape may be littered with sequels, remakes, spinoffs, and cinematic universes, but the fact remains that it’s actually pretty hard to make that first sequel to a movie.
You’re essentially trying to simultaneously recapture lightning in a bottle, and expand on an existing story in a way that not only makes sense but is also entertaining. One wrong move can spell the difference between a one-off sequel and a full-blown franchise. All that considered, it’s not too surprising to hear director Adam Robitel confess that the “Tournament of Champions” filmmakers faced some creative challenges in the early days of development on their “Escape Room” sequel.
Robitel explained to Bloody Disgusting that the biggest obstacle to overcome was deciding what type of escape rooms to include in the sequel since the first movie already utilized a lot of different themes. He said, “We did fire, gravity, ice, cold, gas so we need to outdo ourselves now. […] We have some really cool stuff we’re developing, and hopefully, the audience will think that way too, but it’s tougher.
We did do the greatest hits in the first movie, so the road gets narrower as it goes on. How do you give the audience what they’re expecting from an ‘Escape Room’ movie but also not the exact same thing that the first movie did? So we’re really trying to iron all that out right now.” Thankfully, it took only a few months for the minds behind “Escape Room 2: Tournament of Champions” to sort everything out and settle on a script that they were pleased with.
Once they reached that milestone, the next order of business was auditioning and selecting actors to be in the sequel’s cast. There were six players in the original “Escape Room” film. However, as is normal for a movie like this, all six players don’t manage to survive the game. In fact, only two of the six members of the group manage to escape: Taylor Russell as Zoey, and Logan Miller as Ben.
In the process of surviving the game, the unlikely duo uncovers a vast corporate conspiracy that involves high-stakes betting on who, if any, of the players might make it out of the game alive. Both of those characters will be back for the “Escape Room” sequel with Russell and Miller reprising their respective roles. That’s not really a shock seeing as though their return is essentially set up in the final moments of “Escape Room.”
Since a new game is officially afoot for the “Tournament of Champions,” new faces will be joining Zoey and Ben. Thomas Cocquerel will play Nathan, “Teen Wolf” alum Holland Roden will portray Rachel, and Indya Moore of “Pose” fame is set for the role of Brianna, while “Orphan” breakout Isabelle Fuhrman and “Step Up: High Water’s” Carlito Olivero round out the game’s roster of six players.
As for who these characters are, well, the title of the sequel sort of spills the beans there: They’re all winners of past games, brought back for a championship tournament to determine who’s the best of the bunch. “No, no, no.” “It’s happening again?” “You guys have played the game before?” “So what is this? Like a tournament of champions?” Details on each character beyond Zoey and Ben are scarce for right now, though director Adam Robitel did tell CinemaBlend that each champion will have a mysterious backstory pertaining to the struggles they went through prior to their involvement in the Tournament of Champions.
He said, “What I try to do is set up questions for each of them, as I did in the first movie. We’re leaning into, ‘Why does this person have a scar?’ and ‘Why is this guy seemingly reading the last rites to somebody?’ There’s one character who has […] an anomalous immune system, and so there are weird things that happen with pain. And so we’re setting up all these questions [proving] that they’re not your average characters.”
“I can’t feel physical pain. Just imagine the kinds of puzzles they came up with for me.” Way back when “Escape Room 2” was first announced, Sony Pictures Released stamped it with an April 17, 2020 release date. At the time, it seemed like a perfect debut date: v time between the first and second movies to allow the hype to build, and launching it in the spring rather than the summer meant there wouldn’t be the risk of massive tentpole productions crushing it at the box office.
But, of course, “Escape Room 2: Tournament of Champions” never did arrive in theatres on that day. After multiple delays, “Escape Room 2: Tournament of Champions” was shuffled around multiple release dates in 2020, then 2021, before finally landing all the way on January 7, 2022. But then, In April 2021, Deadline reported that the movie was moving back through time to land in theatres later that year on July 16.
Viewers in Australia can see the film even earlier, as it opens down on July 1. When we last saw Zoey and Ben, they made a pact to confront the masterminds of the first movie’s deadly game. But as the audience saw, those mysterious master game makers were already a few steps ahead of them. The final moments of “Escape Room” teased that the organization’s shadowy mastermind was already plotting a new, near-impossible to survive game to be played on the duo’s flight to New York.
From the “Tournament of Champions” trailer, it seems Zoey and Ben either survived or dodged that game en route to New York. They still get ensnared in a new game, though, and this one opens on a subway car with a handful of strangers. As alluded to in the film’s title, those strangers are all survivors of past games.
“It’s the finals of the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions.” “It’s mine!” According to returning director Adam Robitel, “Escape Room 2: Tournament of Champions” will reveal that the scale of Minos’ organization is far larger than even the first movie hinted at. He told CinemaBlend, “What we’re going to realize is that on any given day, there are multiple games happening all around the world.
” By bringing back Zoey, Ben, and a group of other champions to face the dangers of an escape room again, Robitel also noted of the sequel, “It’s sort of a meditation on trauma, and how people deal with trauma. But also, what they’ve learned through their first trial by fire.” While “Escape Room 2: Tournament of Champions” doesn’t appear to be venturing too far from the first film’s formula, from the look of things, the filmmakers have really outdone themselves in terms of both game and production design.
The sequel will presumably have its fair share of shocking twists and reveals too. As for who’s going to make it out of the new game unscathed, your guess is as good as ours. With “Escape Room 2: Tournament of Champions” hitting theatres in mere weeks, we’ll all find out soon enough. If you can’t make it to the theatre when “Escape Room 2: Tournament of Champions” debuts on July 16, you may be wondering whether the film will have a simultaneous streaming release like many other movies have this year.
The answer is, sadly, pretty disappointing: “Escape Room 2″ Tournament of Champions” isn’t going to be streaming anywhere any time soon. Adam Robitel explained the decision when speaking with CinemaBlend in May 2021. In the director’s opinion, horror movies should be seen in theatres, where it’s dark, quiet, and free from outside distractions – the perfect environment to be scared out of your mind.
He put an artful spin on the subject, sharing, “The Latin root of the word horror means ‘to bristle on the back of the neck.’ It’s the one genre that has a physical and physiological influence over the audience. It’s manipulating them. People love to be afraid in groups. They love to go on dates, to scream and grab their popcorn.”
“Escape Room 2: Tournament of Champions” will likely be available to watch from the comfort of your own home sometime in the future, but for now, you’ll just have to head to the cinema to see it, starting on July 16. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more, Looper videos about your favourite movies and TV shows are coming soon.
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