Despite being destroyed by critics (10% on Rotten Tomatoes) and not that better received by audiences (44% rating on Rotten Tomatoes), The Nut Job did what nobody thought an animated movie released in the dead of winter would do and defy box-office expectations. An opening weekend gross of $26 million—the highest-ever gross for an indie animated film —rendered The Nut Job critic-proof as it went on to collect $120 million worldwide.
On a budget of $42 million (expensive by South Korean standards), that was good enough for Open Road Films to green-light a sequel to the film…which was set to release on January 15, roughly three months ago. Not that anybody was excited for a sequel to one of the worst animated films of 2014, but one downside was that it missed out on a box-office brawl with Norm of the North, the worst animated film of 2016 thus far.
But fear not, I have good news for the four people who actually liked that film (hello Mason). The Nut Job 2 is still a thing, and you might actually get to see it in theaters one day.
According to a recent report by Deadline, Open Road Films has set a May 19, 2017 release date for the film, boldly placing that film at the starting line of next year’s summer blockbuster season. On that day, The Nut Job 2 will have a box-office tangle with Paramount Pictures’ film adaptation of Baywatch and New Line Cinema’s Annabelle 2.
Most of the cast (Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl, Maya Rudolph, Gabriel Iglesias, and Jeff Dunham to name a few) will return, with new cast members to be announced later.
Do expect a different creative team behind this film, however. Peter Lepeniotis directed and co-wrote the first film with Lorne Cameron. This time around, Cal Brunker (Escape from Planet Earth) will direct The Nut Job 2 from a screenplay he co-wrote with Scott Bindley and Bob Barden. So at the very least, we have some new hands at the wheel (although Escape from Planet Earth does not fill me with confidence).
The plot of the film is also a change from the first film’s lousy attempt at a period caper film with animals. The sequel sees Surly Squirrel (Arnett) and his group of friends return to Oakton, where its evil mayor plans to bulldoze Liberty Park and put an amusement park in its place. Surly and his animal buds have to band together to defeat the mayor, take back the park, and save their home.
No mention of when this film takes place (since the first film was supposed to take place in the late 50’s). But I guess that’s appropriate, since the first film made no earnest attempt at placing us in that time-period. Even Minions wasn’t that lazy.
The only other thing of substance I have to say regarding The Nut Job 2 is how big a move it is for Open Road Films, Gulfstream Pictures, and Toonbox Entertainment that they are letting that film play in the summertime. Will it perform well? Depends. A May 2017 release window should give the studios more time to put out a more polished effort (at least visually), but I’m not really waiting on pin and needles to find out.
What do you think? Are you one of the few people looking forward to The Nut Job 2?
Edited by: Kelly Conley