The Alan Moore-created John Constantine debuted on screens in 2005 with Keanu Reeves playing the cult detective, and managed to go on and make quite a bit of money at the box office. With a $100 million budget, the film brought in over $230 million worldwide, no small feat for an R-rated comic book adaptation. Reeves maintained enthusiasm for the project for a few years afterward but had doubts about WB’s willingness to commit to the project.
“They’re producers, so they have to be optimistic,” he told us in 2005. “It’s not up to me, man. It’s up to whomever wants to provide the resources to make that movie. I don’t think Warner Bros. is going to do it. I don’t think it makes fiscal sense for them, because they don’t feel it will make money.”
Talk continued well into 2007, with the prime talking point being that a reduced budget could see the movie made.
“We are developing a very dark version [of ‘Constantine 2’],” producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura told Comics2Film in 2007. “It will be lower budgeted and Keanu [Reeves] totally wants to do it and Francis [Lawrence] wants to do it and the studio wants to do it. But, it will be half the money. We are literally, we are going to go really dark, that’s our intent.”
Things eventually fizzled out though and Reeves cast doubt on the project in 2008. In 2011, the talks were somewhat revived with director Francis Lawrence, who was just coming off The Hunger Games.
“It’s interesting that over the years, ‘Constantine’ seems like it’s become… like it has this sort of cult following, which has been great,” Lawrence told MTV. “It’s been embraced….It would be great to figure out a sequel, and if we did, and we’ve been trying to figure one out, it would be great to do the really dark, scary [version]. We got caught in that weird PG-13 – R no man’s land, and we should do the hard-R scary version, which I would love to do.”
The series eventually found its way to TV, which suffered a similar fate to the second film.