Arriving just one week after Captain America: Civil War, Universal has announced a summer 2016 release date for their R-rated comedy sequel, Neighbors 2.
Earlier in the month, the studio revealed that they’d managed to reunite the dream team from the original, with Nicholas Stoller returning to direct and leading stars Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, and Rose Byrne coming back for more.
Putting the sequel just one week after Marvel’s mammoth blockbuster shows enormous faith on Universal’s part in the project. Captain America: The Winter Soldier did huge business for Marvel last year, taking $714m. in all, and expectations are for even higher numbers next year. Not only will the film kick off Phase Three, it will also include Robert Downey, Jr. in a prominent role, it will introduce Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, and it’s expected to mark the first appearance of the new Spider-Man.
So for Universal to set Neighbors 2 for the following week, knowing all that going in, is a huge deal. The sequel fills a slot the studio had already carved out for a previously untitled R-rated comedy, which they announced last year, and it’s not clear whether or not this was always the plan.
Last year, Neighbors followed one week after The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and managed to knock it off the top spot. TASM2 hauled $91m. in its first frame, dropped to $35.5m. in its second in contrast with Neighbors’ $49m. The comedy film went on to take $150m. in the US, and more than $100m. internationally for a $268m. global sum, which is very impressive, especially considering it cost only $18m. to make.
This time around, we can look forward to a bigger female cast, as Rogen and Byrne’s characters find a sorority moving in next door. They recruit their former nemesis, Efron, to help battle the raucous sisters.
Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien are back to write the script with Stoller, Rogen, and Rogen’s frequent collaborator, Evan Goldberg. So expect great things for the second go around.
Rogen and Goldberg are producing through their Point Grey Pictures shingle with partner James Weaver (The Interview). Good Universe’s Nathan Kahane (This Is The End) and Joe Drake (Neighbors) will also produce, with Cohen and O’Brien serving as executive producers.
In its first weekend, the comedy sequel will open directly opposite Paramount’s Friday the 13th reboot, which has been in development for some time now. The two films have largely different audiences, so shouldn’t pose too much of a problem for each other. And unless Paramount has an ace up its sleeve, Neighbors 2 certainly looks like the stronger contender out of the two. The question, then, is whether it is able to bring down Captain America: Civil War. Part of me wants to say yes, but I remain cautious one way or the other. As long as it does well, I’m happy.
Neighbors 2 will now hit US cinemas on May 13th, 2016.