As the 41st American Film Market launches online, Millennium Media is unveiling “Night Has Fallen,” the fourth installment in the Gerard Butler’s durable action franchise.
The creative team from 2019’s “Angel Has Fallen” is returning with Robert Kamen penning the script along with Ric Roman Waugh, who is also set to direct again.
What’s going to happen? “The plot is top secret,” said Millennium Media, which will produce.
“Night Has Fallen” will be filmed at Millennium Media’s Nu Boyana Studios in Sofia, Bulgaria and throughout Europe.
The series launched in 2013 with “Olympus Has Fallen,” followed by 2016’s “London Has Fallen” and “Angel Has Fallen.” The three “Fallen” movie have combined for more than $500 million worldwide. Millennium, founded in 1996 by Avi Lerner and Trevor Short, has also seen franchise successes with “The Expendables,” “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” and the “Mechanic” films.
Producers of “Night Has Fallen” are Les Weldon, Yariv Lerner, Alan Siegel, Butler, Millennium Media president Jeffrey Greenstein, Jonathan Yunger and Heidi Jo Markel. Executive producers are Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, Boaz Davidson, and Christa Campbell and Lati Grobman of Campbell Grobman Films.
At the 2019 AFM finance conference at the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica, Greenstein asserted that money offered by streamers has made it tougher to sign name actors such as Butler: “The numbers that Netflix, Amazon, Disney are able to offer are substantially higher than anyone can on the independent market.”
Greenstein spoke with Variety about Butler, franchises and dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic on the eve of AFM.
How soon are you planning to shoot “Night Has Fallen”?
We’re hoping to do it in 2021. We’re working with Gerard Butler and Rick Roman Waugh on the specific dates. Our partners are very happy about it. We’re also beginning to develop it as a TV series.
What are the important elements to making your franchises work?
Having the right actor in the right film is what you need if you’re going to convince audiences to fall in love with him or her. Brands have to be built and you have to have really compelling content.
What else are you doing to build franchises?
We’re working on getting a fourth “Expendables.” That’s about all I can tell you at this point. We’re also developing “Red Sonya,” which would be a franchise property. The question is always going to be, “Is it unique, compelling and fun?” So any film that we do, the question of making it into a franchise is always at the back of my mind.
What is that makes you decide to go ahead with a project?
We have a Megan Fox thriller, “Till Death,” that’s in post-production. When I heard about it, I thought, “I have to make it.” I love making movies. It really is my passion.
Are you going to miss the in-person aspects for AFM?
Yes, I will. It’s the same content and we can compete but there’s nothing like face-to-face meetings and the kinetic energy that you get when you are physically at AFM. COVID-19 is a tremendous challenge.
Are you using the Nu Boyana Studios in Sofia, Bulgaria a lot?
Yes, I’d estimate we are doing about 90% of our production there. The less you have to move to locations for production these days, the better. We bought the studio in 2005 and it has turned out to be a great asset for us.