In a triumphant victory following a fierce bidding war, Sony Pictures has emerged as the proud recipient of the rights to the highly anticipated sequel to the 2002 horror classic, “28 Days Later.” Titled “28 Years Later,” the film marks a significant collaboration between renowned director Danny Boyle and accomplished writer Alex Garland.
The dynamic duo, responsible for the original film that reinvigorated the zombie genre, is set to write and direct the sequel, with a potential trilogy in the works. While Boyle is confirmed to direct the first installment, the director for the subsequent sequel is yet to be announced. Cillian Murphy, who catapulted to fame with his role in the original movie, will serve as an executive producer and may also return to his breakout role. However, specific details regarding his involvement remain under wraps.
WME, representing Boyle and Garland, initiated the auction nearly three weeks ago, sparking immediate interest and fervent competition among Hollywood studios and streaming platforms. Ultimately, the bidding war narrowed down to Warner Bros. and Sony, with the latter securing the rights.
The financial terms of the deal remain undisclosed, but sources suggest that each film in the trilogy will have a budget in the ballpark of $60 million. The emphasis on a theatrical release was a crucial factor for the filmmakers.
Boyle, Garland, along with original producer Andrew Macdonald, Peter Rice, former head of Fox Searchlight Pictures, and Bernie Bellew, are set to produce the project. Sony’s advantage in the auction was undoubtedly bolstered by studio head Tom Rothman’s enduring 30-year relationship with Boyle, stemming from their collaboration at Fox Searchlight in the 1990s.
“28 Days Later” was a groundbreaking film that revitalized the zombie genre, influencing subsequent titles such as “The Walking Dead,” “World War Z,” and “Zombieland.” The 2002 film, starring Murphy as a man awakening to a world overrun by the undead, grossed $82.7 million globally. A nominal sequel, “28 Weeks Later,” followed in 2007, with Boyle and Garland serving as executive producers.
Boyle and Garland have long expressed their desire for a sequel, with initial discussions revolving around a film titled “28 Months Later.” The lapse of time has now given rise to the concept of “28 Years Later,” bringing together two filmmakers whose stature in Hollywood has only grown over the years. Boyle, with an Oscar for “Slumdog Millionaire,” and Garland, known for directing modern sci-fi classic “Ex Machina” and the upcoming A24 film “Civil War,” are set to deliver another thrilling chapter to the iconic zombie saga.