When a sequel earns less than its predecessor, it’s usually a good indicator of waning public interest in the product. Such was the case with 2002′s Men in Black 2, which grossed $150 million less than the 1997 original. But it still earned $441 million worldwide, and Sony’s hoping that, 10 years after the fact, Men in Black 3 earns at least that much, because, according to the LA Times, it cost $375 million to make and market. Hoo boy, that’s expensive. And I’m told only half that went towards Will Smith’s gigantic trailer.
By the time it was over, the studio had run up a tab of nearly $250 million — making “Men in Black 3″ one of the most expensive releases of the summer.
It was a family trip to Southeast Asia about three years ago that convinced [producer Walter] Parkes that “Men In Black” still resonated around the world when he spotted locals watching the original movie on TV in an airport. Smith, meanwhile, had a long-gestating concept for a new movie involving time travel. Eager to revive the franchise, Sony executives hired screenwriter Etan Cohen, hot off the success of the action-comedy “Tropic Thunder,” to write the script.
“And then my character travels back in time for some reason?” That was the idea? Wasn’t that a Simpsons episode? I’m not saying it’s not a great premise, I just want to know what they did with the killer robot driving instructor and the talking pie.
With Smith and the other talent lined up and a sizable New York City tax credit that was available only before the new year, Sony rushed the movie into production in fall 2010 despite not having hammered out all the plot elements.