Back in 2011, Hugh Jackman and director Shawn Levy put out a little film called Real Steel. It was a mid-budget movie based on a short story from author Richard Matheson called “Steel.” If that title sounds familiar to you, it’s because back in 1963, that story was adapted by the author himself into a Twilight Zone episode of the same name.
This adaptation from Levy had very little in common with the story or the episode, but it was still an enjoyable — albeit cheesy and somewhat forgettable little film. Performances across the board, which included Jackman, Evangeline Lily, and Dakota Goyo, who surprised me in the secondary lead role of Max Kenton. The movie didn’t kill it at the box office. It made just short of $300 million worldwide on a $80 million budget. It definitely made its money back, but it wasn’t really a money-printing machine.
There have been murmurs of a rumor for some time, but given the general lukewarm response from critics, fans, and the box office, a sequel never seemed to pop up in the high list of priorities. However, on the heels of the success of Stranger Things, questions of returning for a Real Steel sequel have come out of the woodwork.
Speaking with Collider, Levy discussed about the progress of Real Steel 2:
“Here’s the truth: We started developing a sequel like six months before the movie came out. We knew as soon as we started previewing this movie and it was getting mid to high 90s at every test screening. It happens really rarely, but the movie had something that audiences responded to and so we started coming up with ideas for the sequel. The simple truth, the most concise truth I can express, is that it proved, and it has proven, really hard to come up with a sequel that doesn’t feel like a re-hash of the first movie. Yeah, people wanted to see Atom beat Zeus, I would love to see Atom beat Zeus, but you don’t want to retell the story of kind of an alienation between Charlie and Max because that is really the plot of the first movie.”
Indeed that would be the difficulty with a film that revolves around an underdog. Rocky managed to make it work for a time, but that doesn’t make the job any less difficult. Audiences are past the point where seeing the same exact story twice is enough. Luckily, Levy seems to have some ideas as to where they can take the story.
“One area that I still would love to explore is that notion of how was Atom built? What is it about his design that might have embedded some artificial or organic intelligence and consciousness, such that he is self-aware to some extent? So all I’ll say is, we’ve attempted it a few times with a number of writers, and no draft got me, Hugh, and Steven all there to a yes in the same moment. It all felt like it wasn’t quite enough to promise a new story and a new movie. I have to tell you, I had a weird experience watching it tonight because on one hand it felt really good to revisit an old friend, but it also weirdly cemented my conviction that I just shouldn’t make a sequel unless I’m sure it will be better.”
What do you think of this? would you like to see a sequel to Real Steel? Let us know in the comments down below!
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