I raised this point to Jessica recently, but the downside of the first movie exceeding any and all expectations was that it likely placed unrealistic expectations on the sequel’s box office performance. And yet, the sequel still made seven times its production budget, which is a figure that most movies would celebrate. Do you agree that the first film’s box office overperformance created starry-eyed expectations for the sequel?
Absolutely. 100 percent. When you have a really successful movie, you’ve set that bar really high and so everyone’s expectation was there. And what was really difficult, challenging and ultimately heartbreaking for everyone involved, but especially for Jessica and I, was that all of our tracking — literally up to opening weekend — said that we were going to perform in the similar sort of lane. But the audience just didn’t turn out the way they did before. It’s not a failure because you made a good point, which is that the movie actually made a lot of money. By the way, Universal marketing, they’re geniuses and they’re wonderful partners to work with, but I think that it was a tricky one to sell. What traditionally works for most sequels, which is sell the same thing, really hurt us. Because I made a movie that was quite different from the first film, they sold it just like the first film, all the way up to using the exact same song in the trailer. And so, in hiding all of the things that made the second movie unique, I think we kind of got hurt by that. But yeah, it’s weird. Any other movie would’ve gotten a sequel, or a third movie, based on our performance. And for some reason, we just didn’t. What’s interesting about both movies is that they’ve had quite an afterlife, and I think a lot of people, post-theatrical, found the second movie and then really liked it. I got a lot of messages on social media from people saying, “Holy shit, I wish I had seen this in theaters. It was good,” which is sort of bittersweet, but you never know. There still might be a path to a third movie, but that is entirely in Universal’s court. They know that everyone involved in the first two films wants to do a third one, but they have to be the ones that feel a need or a justification to do it.