Did ‘Furious 7′ Inspire a ‘Need For Speed’ Sequel?

NEED FOR SPEED, Aaron Paul

Source: DreamWorks Pictures

On the heels of Furious 7’s huge success at the box office, a sequel to another car racing series may now be in the works. A trio of Chinese production companies is reportedly teaming up to develop a follow-up flick to the 2014 action thriller, Need For Speed.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, China Movie Channel, Jiaflix and 1905.com have teamed with game publisher Electronic Arts and DreamWorks to secure the rights to the sequel. The three companies previously worked with Paramount on Transformers: Age Of Extinction, which went on to become the highest worldwide grossing film of 2014. As THR reports, Need For Speed 2 will reportedly be developed as an official co-production between China and the U.S., meaning an English-language feature with the majority of filming taking place in China and significant Chinese talent attached.

News of the likely sequel isn’t entirely surprising, given the original 2014 movie’s moderate success. Need For Speed, based on Electronic Arts’ hit video game franchise and directed by Scott Waugh, starred Aaron Paul as a street racer, who joins a cross country race in order to get revenge on the wealthy business associate who framed him and put him in prison. Released by Disney’s Touchstone Pictures, the movie received widely negative reviews from critics and ended up finishing in a disappointing third place during its opening weekend in the U.S. However, it proved to be a hit internationally, grossing approximately $200 million at the worldwide theatrical box office, with more than $65 million of those earnings coming from the China market. The video game itself also continues to maintain its popularity with gamers worldwide, having sold over 150 million units and earned over $4 billion in retail sales over the course of 20 years.

At this point, the sequel is still only in the very early stages of development, and negotiations for the rights to the film are still ongoing. Should the project move forward as expected, though, fans can look forward to it moving pretty quickly. While there is no cast, writer or director currently set for the movie, the creative team is expected to be announced in coming weeks, per THR.

“We are excited to work with EA, one of the world’s most recognized creative companies. We are also delighted that much of Need for Speed 2 would be filmed in China, and we believe it will include much more Chinese talent and elements,” said Yin Cao, chairman of China Movie Channel. “This venture is another great endeavor to bridge the cultures between China and the West through film.”

News of the developing Need for Speed 2 comes just as the Fast & Furious franchise proved that it still has plenty of air in its tires. The latest installment of the series, Furious 7, became a critical and commercial success upon its debut earlier this month, earning a whopping $392 million in only its first three days of release and broke the record for the third highest opening of all time. With audiences still so clearly on board with the action-packed, high-octane car chases, it’s no wonder Need for Speed 2 has become such a high priority.

No approximate premiere date for the developing sequel has been revealed yet, but should all go as planned, production is expected to begin later this year.

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