Exclusive : Fat lady hasn’t sung for Tomorrow When The War Began 2 yet

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Last year’s “Tomorrow When the War Began”, a stupendously-entertaining action-thriller based on the book of the same name by John Marsden, was – if the film’s inconclusive ending didn’t tip you off to it – planned to be the first in a series. While the theatrical jaunts of Ellie Linton and her gun-toting town defenders might have only stretched a couple of more movies, Marsden’s “Tomorrow When The War Began” paperback spawned six literary sequels plus a spin-off series. To say there was enough chicken left on the bones to pick at is an understatement; there’s plenty of material for follow-up films.
If only there was as much money on hand as there were story points.

Would you believe Australia’s Highest Grossing film of 2010 might not get a sequel? Are the bean counters on a break! Whaaat!?

Despite doing amazing business at the box-office in Australia, “Tomorrow When the War Began” chalked up some pretty disappointing numbers overseas – as such, the sequel plans came to a crashing halt. But nobody was giving up on securing finance and working out a way to continue the series in film form.

The sales reps aboard the sequel went to Cannes attract financial interest at the renowned Film Festival and Movie Market, but came back empty-pocketed. That tentative September start date for “Tomorrow 2″ was scratched altogether and both cast and crew were freed up to work on other projects (Writer/Director Stuart Beattie, for instance, is knee-deep in Melbourne at the moment prepping “I, Frankenstein” starring Aaron Eckhart). And fans? well, they sighed.

This week, actor Lincoln Lewis, who was expected to reprise his role as Kevin in the “Tomorrow” sequel, told The Daily Telegraph that there won’t be a sequel to “Tomorrow When The War Began”. As the bold type on the newspaper’s website alerts readers, it’s been ‘canceled’. Lincoln, citing the financial difficulties raised above, said there wasn’t enough support for a sequel.

While it’s true that the filmish gods have slammed the ‘pause’ button down on “Tomorrow 2″, there is good news – the film has NOT been canceled.

Speaking to Omnilab today (they’re the main financiers of the series) I’m told that things aren’t as grim as we’ve been led to believe.

Assuring they haven’t given up on the film series, Caroline Pitcher, director of Business and Marketing at Omnilab said they’re “very passionate about its Tomorrow When the War Began franchise” and that as we speak “the second production is currently with our development team.”

That doesn’t mean the film will happen, nor does it mean Lewis was mistaken, but it does mean there’s a glimmer of hope for the “Tomorrow When The War Began” film franchise with Omnilab still pushing the film series. Hopefully the push won’t be an uphill jaunt forever.

Writer/director Stuart Beattie’s plans for the series comprised of a further two feature films and a TV series.

He told Moviehole :

I just think practically you can’t – by the time you finish seven movies the actors will be in their thirties and they won’t look like teenagers anymore. If you can’t say everything you need to say in three movies than… at the end of the third book, they get out, so it’s a nice break.

..They get away from the war – and then later they go back in. So that sounds like a good place to stop the film series. Then we recast and do a TV series that we pump out every week. The actors stay young and we keep that going for as long as people want to see it. And interestingly the books start to get more episodic in 4,5,6 and 7 so it suits TV more than film. I just think that would be a smart way to do it… if we’re so lucky to get that far.

Luck doesn’t seem to have as much to do with it as coin, but please gods, smile upon this franchise. Petition time!? Maybe a Muppet-style telethon?

Meantime Roadshow are holding off announcing plans for the highly-anticipated “Red Dog : REDloaded”.