I was surprised how little advanced excitement and anticipation there was in the geekosphere for Chronicle. Here was that thing so many nerds say they want: an original story, well told, with character and surprises, and a tone that deserved to be taken seriously. Had it been brand-named, I think people would have lost their minds for it.
But it wasn't. And I guess people are shallow. Whenever I saw somebody namecheck Akira in describing Chronicle, and it happened a lot, I remembered how much fuss was being made over a going-nowhere American do-over of that story while this film was being relatively neglected. All because of the name on the front page. Just a name.
That's why the studios keep making condescending, substandard tentpole pap. All they need is a name to sell tickets – and toss in a few more famous names on the cast and crew credits to really get things cooking. But don't you want to be treated like grown ups? Honestly, it looks like the majority of traffic to online film blogs is made up not of film lovers, but franchise fans, people less interested in whether or not a film is going to be any good than whether or not it has the same name as something else.
But Chronicle is out there now, and these blinkered folk can stumble on it by mistake while trolling from brand name to brand name. And when they do, I think they'll "be surprised" by how much they like it.
So by the time Chronicle 2 comes along, there's probably going to be something like a waiting audience.
At the moment, the studios seem to be courting director Josh Trank for their pre-set comic book adaptations, from The Fantastic Four to Venom and it's not entirely clear if he'd come back to make another Chronicle movie, despite it being built on his own original idea. I expect he will at least have first refusal.
Though while we're waiting to see if that will happen, the first film's screenwriter, Max Landis, has started work on a script for the second. Deadline note that Landis has other projects in the pipeline, having recently sold Amnesty, a pitch with Ron Howard attached to direct, and that Disney have an original "adventure story" of his on their slate. Keeping busy.
The first Chronicle ends quite nicely, and there aren't really any loose threads outside of the kind of things that simply don't need an explanation. Still, there are more stories to be told in the same world, and all Landis will have to do is find one.