'Percy Jackson' sequel could be on its way
EXCLUSIVE: Fans waiting for a sequel to "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" may not have to wait that much longer.
Fox 2000, the 20th Century Fox label behind the adventure franchise, is putting a follow-up project to the 2010 young-adult film in active development and could shoot it as early as this summer, according to a person who has been briefed on the project's status but was not authorized to speak publicly about it. The movie would be subtitled "The Sea of Monsters" and derive from the second book in Rick Riordan's five-book series.
The studio has hired Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski -- who wrote "Ed Wood" and "Agent Cody Banks" -- to write a script for the new film, which they are currently doing. But the person cautioned that the project is still very much at the development phase; the movie, for instance, does not yet have a director.
Chris Columbus, who helmed the first installment, is not expected to return, although he will produce the picture, as will "Breaking Dawn" producer Karen Rosenfelt, who also produced "Lightning Thief."
The lead cast members, headed by Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson, will come back, according to the person who was briefed.
A Fox spokeswoman declined to comment.
The first film introduced the world to an ordinary boy who discovers that he is the son of the Greek god Poseidon, and that many elements from ancient Greek mythology still exist today. (The film aged up the character from 12, which he was in the novel, to 17.) Riordan's second book follows Percy and his group of friends as they head to the titular sea to find the mythical Golden Fleece and to free a friend who has been captured there.
A "Percy Jackson" sequel had been a question mark since the original came out a little over a year ago. Riordan's books are hugely popular, with the series spending more than three years on the New York Times bestseller list. The original film was a modest hit, fueled by its performance overseas: It grossed a decent $89 million in the U.S. but pulled in an additional $137 million around the world.
Young-adult movies tend to spawn sequels relatively quickly, as studios worry that both a cast and an audience can grow out of a franchise. But one person familiar with the project said that Fox believes that the ongoing popularity of the books is more than sufficient to overcome a potential two-year lag between films.
Photo: Book jacket from "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Sea Monsters." Credit: Hyperion Books