Angelina Jolie Wanted by Universal for Wanted 2

After two weeks of release, director/star Angelina Jolie’s relationship drama By the Sea has yet to cross the million dollar mark at the worldwide box office, but in spite of its perceived failure-to-launch, it could still prove a boon to Universal Pictures. In an article from The Hollywood Reporter about the studio’s tactics in greenlighting the art house film, it supposedly did so because they want Jolie to return to their long-in-development sequel Wanted 2.

A sequel or, given the death of certain main characters, prequel to the Chris Morgan-scripted 2008 action hit Wanted has been batting around the studio for some time with little movement. Ultimately, Jolie is rumored to favor in-development sequels to more recent hits like Maleficent or Salt if she wanted to go the franchise route, a path she has avoided since the failure of 2003’s Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.

“Being dead makes it difficult,” Jolie stated to us in 2010 about the return of her deceased character Fox. “They were (trying to bring me back) but I kind of feel like if I die in a movie, I should die actually. I’m that way, and that character is not as complex as Salt. It would just be doing the exact same thing in another movie, so it’s not that interesting to me.”

We got to talk to Marc Platt last year, who explained where the new Wanted installment was headed at that time, with a screenplay being worked on by the likes of Michael Brandt, Derek Haas and Evan Spiliotopoulos.

“We have a script that’s getting pretty good,” Platt explained. “To do a sequel when it wasn’t really set up for a sequel–one of our main characters dies in it. You don’t want to just retread a similar story, but when we get the script to a certain bar, there will be a sequel. It’s taken a while because it’s challenging, as I said, because we lost a main, main character, so where that James McAvoy character goes now… we have good ideas though. It’s coming along.”

Based on the comic book by Marc Millar and J.G. Jones, the original Wanted was helmed by Timur Bekmambetov and concerned a young man named Wesley (James McAvoy) who learns he’s part of a secret society of assassins with superhuman killing abilities. It grossed over $340 million worldwide.