Some sequels really just name themselves and in the case of 2016’s Now You See 2, there was an obvious choice for a title but a very silly reason prevented that from happening.
2013’s Now You See Me proved to be an unexpected box office hit, grossing $117.7 million domestically and $351.7 million worldwide on a $75 million budget. The film had a solid ensemble cast, slick visuals, and potential for world-building, which is why a sequel became inevitable. All signs pointed to the obvious choice of calling the sequel Now You Don’t but director Jon M. Chu revealed to “Collider” that the marketing department didn’t like the title because they were strangely hung up on the word “don’t.”
“We tried very hard to call it Now You Don’t, but the marketing department – this is true – said, ‘We don’t like the word don’t in a title.’ And we were like, ‘Whuh? This is like the perfect literal title.’ And they were like, ‘No, we’re calling it NOW YOU SEE ME 2.’ Can we at least get an extra word or something?… It breaks my heart when I see that, because I’m like, ‘Yeah, we should’ve called it that.’ I agree.”
Now You See Me deals with the mysterious organization known as the “Eye”, consisting of a powerful group of illusionists who use their influence to bring order to the world. The mythology of the series sees four new illusionists, called the “Four Horsemen” being inducted into the “Eye” and tasked with exposing the evil tycoon, Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine). The sequel saw the Horsemen taking on a new villain, in the shape of Tressler’s son, as they come to a deeper understanding of what exactly the “Eye” does to keep balance in the world. Across the two films, the cast consists of Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Daniel Radcliffe, Lizzy Caplan, Jay Chou, and Sanaa Lathan.
Perhaps Now You See Me 2 would’ve made a bit more coin at the box office if it was called Now You Don’t. Domestically, the film fell sharply to a gross of $65 million but worldwide grosses were still solid with a take of $334.8 million. Lionsgate still wants to make a third film, with Nathan Kahane, President of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, announcing last year that the writer of American Hustle, Eric Warren Singer, had signed on to write the script for Now You See Me 3. Here is what he said about the project at the time:
“Eric has always been fascinated with the fine art of deception and illusion in all of its forms and he came to us with a great story that takes the mythology of Now You See Me and pushes the ‘Four Horsemen” ‘ to a whole new level with our key returning cast and new characters. The Now You See Me franchise has been built on keeping the audience surprised and guessing. Any great magician knows you can’t keep doing the same tricks. And Eric and his team of illusionists have something special up their sleeve for this new film.”
I’m just upset that a third film, Now You Don’t is not an option for a title. Talk about a missed opportunity.