Wedding Crashers is one of my favorite comedies, so this is a bummer: I’m told the sequel, after years of development, nearly-done deals for the stars, and a production planned to start this month, is now not happening.
Why? Owen Wilson. Warner Bros.’ Toby Emmerich and Richard Brener had worked hard to reunite director David Dobkin with Wilson and Vince Vaughn, as well as Rachel McAdams and Isla Fisher, and figure out a script that made sense in the #MeToo era. Wilson and Vaughn would make $10 million each, I’m told, with Dobkin also cashing in. (He earned $4 million to direct Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga for Netflix, but has mostly been in director jail since the 2014 flop The Judge.) Production was set to begin in Georgia and Puerto Rico, and some cast and key crew had begun looking for housing.
Then, right before the final script came in, Jim Berkus at UTA informed everyone that Wilson had instead decided to sign on to Disney’s Haunted Mansion reboot, which starts shooting in October. Wilson didn’t breach any contract (deals were contingent on that final script, which arrived right after the actor bolted), but the move surprised everyone. Emmerich, in particular, is under pressure to deliver library sequels and spinoffs for HBO Max, and obviously a follow-up to Wedding Crashers, which made nearly $300 million for Warners’ New Line in 2005, would have been a huge coup. Who wouldn’t click on that tile?
The project isn’t completely dead. But after Mansion, Wilson will segue to season two of Disney+’s Loki, and Vaughn has committed to the Apple TV drama series Bad Monkey, from Ted Lasso producer Bill Lawrence. So it will likely be at least a year until anyone can revisit Wedding Crashers 2. Like I said, a bummer. Some close to the project are wondering why Wilson gave up a big payday and the return to a signature franchise to replace Seth Rogen, another UTA client, in a supporting role opposite stars Tiffany Haddish and Lakeith Stanfield. Mansion is a future franchise opportunity, which may be preferable to revisiting one from his past (and one that might still be available in a year). The Disney relationship probably played a role, too; Marvel’s Loki has brought Wilson, 52, back into the zeitgeist, helping him land the SNL season premiere. Or, maybe, the Crashers script just wasn’t quite to his liking. It’s yet another example of how putting together movies is hard. (Warners and Wilson’s rep declined to comment.)