It is the film credited with sparking the online poker boom in North America and the United Kingdom in the early years of the new Millennium. Released in September, 1998 Rounders followed the exploits of aspiring poker pro Mike McDermott, played by a fresh-faced Matt Damon.
The storyline, the mesmerising acting and the level of detail – down to poker chips values and colours – made Rounders the perfect poker movie. Nearly 24 years on, the question on fans lips remains the same, “will there be a sequel?”
In this article we try our best to answer that question, looking back over interviews from key cast members as well as looking at the potential demand for a sequel.
(It’s almost 24 years since this cult classic first hit cinema screens.)
Would Rounders 2 Be Commercially Viable?
The first thing that any production company has to consider before they give the go-ahead to a movie is its commercial viability; how much it will make at the Box Office. Which could prove to be a stumbling block for a potential Rounders sequel.
Whilst the original film did make a $12 million profit, its Box Office takings were 0.5% of the year’s biggest grossing movie Titanic. In fact it was only the 78th highest grossing film of 1998 behind the likes of The Players Club and Mighty Joe Young.
The market has changed an awful lot though since 1998, so would a modern day Rounders fare better than its predecessor in the Box Office? If the revenues of Molly’s Game – the most popular poker movie of recent times – are anything to go by then no.
That 2017 release was the 164th highest grossing film of 2017 with a paltry $5.3 million in Box Office sales. This trend in gambling movies nosediving in popularity hasn’t been missed by Matt Damon, star of Rounders.
In an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show, Damon said that a sequel would have to include high-speed car chases and maybe a superhero or two. It’s a view that has been echoed by disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein who 8 years ago said a sequel would “need a super villain to replace John Malkovich.”
Netflix To The Rescue?
Whilst everything above makes for poor reading for Rounders fans it’s important to remember that the silver screen isn’t the only option available for a sequel. Much of the original film’s success like other cult classics came through market segments of VHS and DVD – markets which has effectively vanished.
Fortunately though, streaming platforms like Netflix have stepped in to fill the void left by VHS and DVD to give movie makers another avenue to explore their creativity. Netflix, or for that matter, any other streaming platform could make Rounders 2 commercially viable in the modern market.
In order to be convinced of that viability though, it might take fans of the film to start making some noise like Lucifer fans did in 2018. When Fox decided not to recommission the show for a fourth series, so-called ‘Lucifans’ took to social media to campaign for their favourite show to be recommissioned.
Netflix took notice of the groundswell of public opinion and facilitated a further 3 seasons of the show, much to the delight of fans. A similar campaign by Rounders fans could well prove to have the same effect…
(Lucifer, which recently finished after 6 series was saved from the scrapheap by Netflix following a fan campaign to save the show.)
What The Cast Are Saying?
Commercial viability and fan campaigns are one thing, but another is whether or not the cast of the original film have the will to return for a sequel.
Throughout the years Matt Damon has repeated his desire to return as Mike McDermott under the right circumstances. John Malkovich has also been open to the idea of a return to the Rounders universe when asked.
In fact, according to Damon himself, all the actors involved in the original movie would be interested in a sequel as they had such a good time filming back in 1998.
Which leaves only the writing team of David Levien and Brian Koppleman. In 2010 the pair revealed that they were working on a film idea that lived within the Rounders universe and focused on the world of offshore gambling.
Unfortunately that idea left Rounders’ behind and went on to become a movie feature, a drama and crime thriller, a installment which had limited Box Office success and received mixed reviews from critics. In a recent interview though, Levien did say “We’ve been concentrating on Rounders 2 lately; ideas are percolating.”
Whilst that isn’t concrete proof that a sequel is coming, it does leave room for hope!
(Runner Runner was originally meant to be set in the Rounders universe; perhaps if it were it would have performed better in the Box Office?)
Will Rounders 2 Happen?
If we were sat around a table with Teddy KGB and we had to bet on whether a Rounders 2 movie was happening, would we go all-in? Unfortunately not. We’d have to fold and sit their awkwardly as Teddy grinned at us.
The chances of a sequel are slim to none. Quite simply it relies on the writers coming up with a dynamite idea and a streaming service deciding to take a risk on an old movie that wasn’t that commercially successful in the first-place. This includes movie scores to match the films themes and artistic values, movie song classics and mp3 downloads for Beast is a great way to understand composer’s unique messages.
Add into that the fact that the costs of production would skyrocket from the original as most of the cast have gone on to become superstars and we’re starting to get into the realms of fantasy. Ahh well, we’ve always got the original to enjoy!