On the Big Board
||Scott Speedman was the lucky one. He was only present in the movie in the digital sense.
||I like lore and backstory, but I've lost interest to care about the series other than the crisp cinematography.
A franchise recipe for success doesn’t typically include moving from a sequel to a prequel, and it definitely does not involve replacing your protagonist, wanna-be-A-lister Kate Beckinsale, with wanna-be-C-lister Rhona Mitra (even if Rhona also brings the goods when wearing a black leotard). Even still, the enterprising folks at Screen Gems managed a modest success when their third entry into the Underworld cannon of films earned $91 million against a $35 million budget. Grosses were down ever so slightly compared to the first and second installments of the trilogy, proving to the studio that fans of the Underworld were sticking around for reasons other than Beckinsale.
Screen Gems is also choosing to strike while the proverbial iron is still hot on the recent wave of 3D horror films making their way into the marketplace. When Underworld: Rise of the Lycans was released in January of 2009, it was slightly upstaged by competitor Lionsgate’s unexpected hit, My Bloody Valentine 3D the week before. With the surprise success of Valentine and the uptick in the Final Destination franchise later in 2009 with its own 3D entry, the writing on the wall was fairly clear: audiences enjoy the visceral feel of horror in three dimensions.
Recently hired screenwriter John Hlavin (of television's The Shield), says the new entry will be a sequel to the second film, Underworld: Evolution, not a direct follow-up to the Lycan’s prequel. Whether or not mainstay cast members like British thesps Bill Nighy and Michael Sheen (don’t you just feel like they’re slumming it a bit here?) return for the four-quel or if the studio tries to bring back originals like Beckinsale and her husband/director Len Wiseman is as of yet unknown.
Expect the fourth Underworld to deliver a similar blend of action and horror, and don’t expect the it to be the final film of the franchise either. This franchise currently has the benefit of boasting relatively inexpensive production values, a decently sized and loyal fan base, women in tight leotards, and a new entry in digital 3D. Also, let us not overlook the fact that currently a full blown 50% of the movie-going community (read: women) are a mildly obsessed with the feud between vampires and werewolves. Underworld 4 could serve as a stand-in to feed their needs while fans bide their time between future Twilight installments. (Joshua Pasch/BOP)