Rian Johnson scored a big win with 2019’s Knives Out, a star-studded ‘whodunnit’ that proved both a critical and commercial hit for the writer-director following his successful-yet-divisive Star Wars film, The Last Jedi.
Johnson announced plans for a Knives Out sequel shortly after the first film’s release that would see Daniel Craig return as detective Benoit Blanc to solve an entirely new mystery.
Although news on the follow-up has been quiet since then, a major development has occurred today, with Variety reporting that Netflix has purchased the rights to not one, but two Knives Out sequels for the astonishing price of $450 million.
The deal will see Johnson return to write and helm the two sequels, alongside Craig who will reprise his role as the brilliant, Southern-fried investigator who must solve an especially complex murder mystery with numerous suspects.
Why Knives Out is a good investment for Netflix
While $450 million may seem like an outrageous sum to pay for two mid-budget mystery films, the purchase does provide Netflix with a ready-made franchise which already has a built-in fanbase.
Netflix has amassed an enormous audience over the years, but has so far struggled to develop compelling film properties which have lasting appeal.
Recently, the company has attempted to kick off a number of blockbuster-style franchises with the likes of The Old Guard, Project Power and Outside the Wire, but most (with the exception of the Chris Hemsworth’s record-smashing actioner Extraction) have faded from memory rather quickly.
On top of this, Netflix now has to compete with Disney Plus and HBO Max, which have a number of enormous franchise films in the pipeline from the likes of Star Wars, Marvel and DC, so it makes sense for the streaming giant to aggressively build its own exclusive properties with legitimate franchise appeal.
The first Knives Out made an impressive $311 million at the global box office from a budget of just $40 million. The film also earned Johnson an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. At present, it’s unknown whether Knives Out 2 and 3 will also be released theatrically.