Happy Death Day was such a box office success that it spawned a sequel only two years later. Contrary to its mournful title, the black comedy slasher film has enjoyed positive reviews from critics and audiences alike. But although the 2017 film already celebrated its success, the 2019 sequel fell short and failed to live up to the legacy of the first, garnering box office revenue far below what the first film earned. Its underwhelming gross earnings could cause the death of the franchise, and the director revealed that the chances for the third installment are slim at this point.
Christopher Landon directed both Happy Death Day and its sequel, Happy Death Day 2U, both of which offered a comic spin on the genre. The fans of the feature are certainly hoping for the third installment, but since the sequel was not well received, the third Happy Death Day film got a disheartening update from the filmmaker itself. While promoting his upcoming film We Have a Ghost, Landon revealed via SlashFilm that there is “no movement at all” regarding Happy Death Day 3. Landon explained:
“There was a tiny moment where I really felt like I had Universal’s attention, but they forgot about me. I think it’s a really tough one for them, and I’m being really blunt and honest in that the first movie was very successful. It made a lot of money. It was well-received. And the sequel was not. The sequel is loved by people who have seen it, but it did not make a lot of money, and it was not a success for them. So it’s very hard to motivate them to make a third movie when the last one just didn’t perform. Those are the hard economics of the business.”
2017 was quite a terrific year not only for movies in general but also for the horror genre, with features like Get Out, It, and Annabelle: Creation inflicting a different kind of terror on everyone as well as distinct horror narratives. It was also the year for time loop-inspired movies, starting with the mystery drama Before I Fall and ending with the slasher outing Happy Death Day. The audiences found the entire premise intriguing and promising, so much so that the film earned twice its budget.
On the slim chances of us getting a third Happy Death Day film, Landon elaborated saying, “I don’t know what it would take. There was talk for a minute of it maybe being a Peacock thing. Maybe. Maybe one day.” The director added: “The beauty of it is that my idea, the whole idea for the third movie, it is not dependent on any sort of specific window or timeframe. So I could make it any time, but I mean, as the years draw past, I feel like our chances are dimming.”
The Jessica Rothe-starring 2017 film follows a college student named Tree embroiled in a seemingly endless time loop in which she dies over and over, perpetrated by her university’s masked killer. Then, in 2019, the sequel explored the reason why Tree was trapped in a time loop, adding a science-fiction twist to the franchise while maintaining the same level of comedy and thrill as the first.
Produced by Jason Blum‘s Blumhouse Productions, Happy Death Day is an addition to the roster of the production house’s long list of successful horror features, including Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Purge, and Split. Happy Death Day also earned a place in the horror scene forever, despite the thin possibility of a third film.
Besides Rothe, Happy Death Day and its sequel also star Israel Broussard, Phi Vu, and Ruby Modine, to name a few. Although Happy Death Day 3 seems distant from reality, we are still hoping to hear Tree’s “ayy, it’s my birthday, and I ain’t gonna pick up the phone” ringtone once it’s confirmed. In the meantime, we can only hope for the best.