Would a ‘Goonies’ Sequel be a Box Office Hit?

Director Richard Donner recently sent the Internet rumor mill into overdrive with a casual mention that he was doing a sequel to 1985's "The Goonies." Could the sequel really happen?

Apr 8, 2014 at 7:20AM

If there's one thing that's hot in Hollywood right now, it's nostalgia. Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) Universal Pictures is in the process of casting Jurassic World, a new entry to the 21-year-old "Jurassic Park" franchise, while Sony (NYSE: SNE) has confirmed that it plans to move forward with the long-suffering Ghostbusters 3. Even "Jem and the Holograms" and "He-Man" have film adaptations in the works. So what's next on the nostalgia bandwagon?

A sequel to The Goonies, if director Richard Donner is to be believed.

Goonies never say die
When asked by TMZ whether he planned on doing another comic book movie, Donner (who also directed Superman: The Movie in 1978 and is considered by some to be the father of the modern superhero movie) answered, "If you call Goonies a comic book. We're doing a sequel."

Rumors of a "Goonies" sequel have been making the rounds for years, with both Donner and various members of the original cast periodically commenting on it. It's understandable why they would be interested in returning -- The Goonies was not only a financial success (earning around $61.4 million in the domestic box office on a budget of $19 million), it has also developed a cult following in the nearly 30 years since the film's release.

Unfortunately, Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) Warner Bros. studio has been reluctant to move forward on a sequel. At a "Goonies Never Say Die" event in 2004, Donner admitted to the crowd that while he, producer Stephen Spielberg, and most of the cast were interested in returning for another film, Warner Bros. wasn't willing to invest. He stated that there were other production companies that were interested, but the rights to the film rested with Warner so no other studio could green light the project.

This sentiment seemed to carry forward in the following years, with actor Cory Feldman stating in his blog in 2008 "NO! There is no Goonies 2! I'm sorry but it's just not gonna happen. It seems every six months the rumor mill gets started up again and people run around both excited and angry, and eventually I have to respond. I would have loved to do this movie under the direction of Donner (who wouldn't?), but it is just not meant to be. Hope that's settled." Covering his bases, he then followed up with, "Course now that I've said that they'll do it."

Why now?
With Donner himself admitting that Warner Bros. wasn't interested in financing the film and Feldman's comments hinting that the sequel plans were dead, what's changed to bring about Donner's recent claim? It's possible that it's just the passage of time.

Next year is the 30th anniversary of The Goonies, and in 2010 Warner Bros. released a 25th anniversary Blu-ray edition of the film. The movie has also earned over $14 million from its DVD and Blu-ray releases as of the end of 2013, showing that there's still interest in the movie, even after all of these years. This could be a compelling reason for Warner Bros. to green light the sequel, capitalizing on the upcoming 30th anniversary to announce the production.

That said, Donner's recent statement isn't the first time that he's sounded certain that the sequel was going to happen. Given that the statement was made to a reporter from TMZ and wasn't in any capacity an official announcement from Warner Bros., it's possible that this latest round of hype is getting ahead of itself.

Will they or won't they?
The big question remains whether there will actually be a "Goonies" sequel or if the statement was a result of Donner's confidence that a sequel will eventually be made. Until Warner Bros. announces it or more concrete information comes to light, it's best to take this latest mention with a significant grain of salt because it's not the first time that Donner has spoken like a new "Goonies" adventure was getting ready to start.

Warner Bros. definitely has an incentive, though. The original film has a dedicated following, there's a convenient anniversary that the studio could play off of, and nostalgia for the '80s and '90s is at an all-time high. Other studios are moving forward with their nostalgia projects, Disney (NYSE: DIS) is preparing to launch a sequel series to the popular '90s show "Boy Meets World" on the Disney Channel, and there will likely be more nostalgia projects getting the green light if the current slate performs well.

If the original domestic take of The Goonies is adjusted for inflation, the film would bring in over $132.9 million today. If the sequel really is on its way like Donner claims, it would be entirely possible for it to make that much or even significantly more. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull brought in a domestic take of over $317.1 million when it brought that franchise back after almost a 20-year absence, and that was despite bad reviews and fan disappointment. A true "Goonies" reunion with Donner at the helm could very well wind up seeing similar success, especially if the die-hard fans enjoy it.

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