For a movie that turned out borderline unwatchable, Men in Black 3 somehow managed a franchise-best $624 million worldwide. Naturally, it was a franchise low in terms of domestic takings ($179 million), but the added 3D charge and a robust release in China, MIB3 made a sequel an inevitability.
Cut to five years and an abandoned Jump Street crossover later, MIB4 has yet to emerge, but Sony is now moving forward with a fourth movie, but there’s a catch. If you were hoping to see Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones back in action then prepare to be disappointed as Agents Smith and Jones are officially retired as the new movie will be a soft reboot.
It remains unclear if MIB4 will follow the current trend of Legacy Sequels like Blade Runner and Star Wars that feature a few original characters amongst all the new young faces. However, even if the new sequel is a clean slate, I simply can’t muster much in the way of excitement. I enjoyed the first one for what it was, a fun sci-fi comedy that gave Will Smith his second summer blockbuster in a row. The first sequel was woeful, and I think I’ve made my thoughts on MIB3 clear, but despite the quality of the sequels, it’s a billion-dollar franchise and Sony don’t have too many of those.
Earlier this year, the director of all three Men in Black films, Barry Sonnenfeld, spoke openly about his desire for a fourth entry in the series, he just didn’t want to be the one to make it.
“I don’t think Will Smith nor I would be involved. But I love the franchise, because I developed it and created it. But I think the problem with making a fourth film – for a while they were talking about combining 21 Jump Street and Men in Black – [is] there are too many expensive players in the mix.
There’s [Steven] Spielberg, there’s other producers, and I think the way to do it is to have new agents or something like that. Not have me, not have Will, not have Tommy. Just have other adventures. I wish they would do it, I don’t know if they will.”
There is currently no director attached, but the new Men in Black movie is scheduled for release May 17, 2019.