Sylvester Stallone says a sequel to 1993’s Demolition Man is in the works, nonchalantly announcing the news during an Instagram live video on Monday after he was asked by a fan. Maybe it was due to a lack of news or maybe it was that Stallone’s name still means something in pop culture, but it made major news in the entertainment industry. That’s saying something, especially since it wasn’t news about another film in either the Rocky or Creed franchises.
Even back when Demolition Man was released in 1993, Stallone, then 47, was hanging on to former glories, hoping to generate the kind of box office dollars he once drew so seamlessly by his star power, coupled with the 1980s action genre. On a budget of $57 million, Demolition Man ended up grossing $159 million at the box office but even though the action film was deemed financially successful back then, I’m not sure anyone was asking for a sequel then or now.
It’s definitely not uncharted territory for Stallone to make a sequel. For the last two decades or so — if not longer — Stallone has maintained his status in Hollywood simply living off sequels from his past successes. His favorites, of course, being the Rocky and Rambo franchises. However, we can only hope he never thinks of penciling a Stop, or My Mom Will Shoot sequel.
Stallone is perfect for 2020 Hollywood which loves its sequels and reboots. He could have written the book on how to accomplish a sustaining career as an actor by making nothing but sequels and reboots, which have made money. Currently, it’s what Hollywood loves, as it seems to have just ran out of ideas — or is too lazy and/or apprehensive about trying new stories.
Although it was director Ryan Coogler who came up with the idea for Creed, it was a continuation, or soft reboot, of the Rocky franchise. But who’s to say it would have succeeded as well without Stallone, who was nominated for best supporting actor? For someone who struggled like most to get their foot in the door and become not only successful in Hollywood, but a leading man, Stallone has become so much more – he’s a franchise maker and box office draw. Sure, he’s got plenty of duds but he’ll forever be a pop culture icon. Even at 73-years-old he’s making headlines about a film that’s nearly thirty-years-old with a premise about unfreezing criminals in the future.
Stallone is still hanging on to former glories, still hoping to live by his name. But I don’t think he cares. He’s rich and successful and can make whatever sequels he wants as long as he can get someone like Warner Bros. to sign off on it. He’s a trusted, and proven, commodity. That’s why he made a film like The Expendables in 2010, which brought not only nearly every 1980s action star back on the big screen, but every trope to go with it – and then made two sequels.
Making a film like Demolition Man 2 in the 2020’s could be difficult. Sci-Fi films and films that contain long distances into the future are difficult to make successful now because we’re living in the future. Granted, we’re not living in a time where crime has been all but extinguished and the only existing restaurant is Taco Bell and we’re fined for saying curse words, but those ideas feel more realistic now than they did back in 1993.
Stallone, who plays bad cop John Spartan, is unfrozen in the year 2032 along with his great nemesis, Simon Phoenix, played by Wesley Snipes. I don’t know how close the world is to getting a Cryo-Penitentary but all I’m saying is that we’re a lot closer to 2032 now than we were back in 1993. Some of the technology that’s used in the film, the ideologies and the methods, have all been discussed at the very least or very loosely attempted or created in some regard. This is why James Bond films have struggled somewhat over the past twenty years. All of those famous gadgets from Q Branch for 007 to use became some sort of loosely based reality for the common consumer, not just the secret agent in a fictional film.
I do believe seeing how the world of San Angeles has changed since the first Demolition Man could be interesting. The idea of seeing where exactly the character of John Spartan is now or even Simon Phoenix and how their actions had consequences that created potential new, or old, ideologies is intriguing. However, I don’t believe anyone wants to see a 70 year old Stallone running around fighting off unfrozen criminals. The actions of the first film and their effects all these years later could make for an interesting concept but does this story really need a sequel almost 30 years later?