Sony Pictures boss Tom Rothman is enlisting the help of a longtime friend on one of the studio’s biggest projects, as veteran X-Men producer Hutch Parker has joined the producing team of Venom 2, Collider has learned.
Andy Serkis is directing from a script by Kelly Marcel, and the sequel is bringing back the original producing team of Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach and Amy Pascal.
An industry source tells Collider that Parker is “a total pro” who came aboard Venom 2 a couple months ago due to his experience with Marvel movies, as well as his relationship with Rothman from their time together at Fox. Parker is also respected by the other producers, who felt he would only make the team stronger.
Parker has a mixed track record with comic book movie fans. While he did produce James Mangold‘s critically acclaimed Logan and its 2013 predecessor The Wolverine, as well as the well-liked X-Men: Days of Future Past, he was also responsible for Josh Trank‘s much-maligned Fantastic Four reboot, as well as X-Men: Apocalypse, the recent summer flop Dark Phoenix, and the long-delayed New Mutants movie.
Parker was also a producer on Peter Berg‘s terrorism thriller Patriots Day, which like Logan, made my Top 10 list the year it was released. Earlier this year, he successfully transitioned his first-look film deal with Fox over to Disney.
Venom 2 is an important movie for Sony, not just because the first film grossed $856 million worldwide last year, but because the studio can no longer rely on an “MCU bump” for its Spider-Man movies after it was unable to extend its agreement with Disney and Marvel. Tom Hardy is set to reprise his role as Eddie Brock, the journalist who joins with an alien symbiote to become Venom. He’s expected to be joined by Woody Harrelson, who was introduced as serial killer Cletus Kasady, aka Carnage, at the end of the first film.
Serkis previously directed the 2017 drama Breathe as well as Netflix’s Mowgli, and it was his expertise with CG and performance-capture technology that helped him beat out Travis Knight and Rupert Wyatt for the Venom 2 gig. Sony is slated to release the sequel on Oct. 2, 2020 — meaning production will have to start relatively soon. Stay tuned to Collider for casting news in the coming weeks.