When we last saw U.S. Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) in 2019’s Angel Has Fallen, he had once again saved the life of his mentor, President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman this time, after Aaron Eckhart finished out his term), from assassination and also reconciled with his long-estranged, PTSD-suffering but warm-hearted dad Clay (Nick Nolte). And just for good measure, Banning ended up accepting the position of Director of the Secret Service from a grateful Commander-in-Chief.
The picture was the first collaboration between Butler and director Ric Roman Waugh (Shot Caller), who are teaming up again for this year’s planetary disaster epic Greenland. Waugh told us during a recent press day for the latter than early work has already started on a fourth …Has Fallen entry, and that he’s ready to get it going whenever it becomes possible.
“I’m all in on another …Has Fallen,” Waugh told us. “We are talking about scripts and storylines right now. I want to see Mike Banning with his two dads. I mean, in Angel Has Fallen, you got to see him navigate with two dads, but you never saw the two dads in the same room. And I mean, what more fun can you have than to stick Nick Nolte and Morgan Freeman in the same room and just have them kick the crap out of Gerry Butler? That’d be fun. So yeah, I’m all in if that comes down the road.”
A fourth film seems likely to happen. According to a 2019 report, Butler is signed for up to three movies as Banning. KeProducer Alan Siegel suggested at the time that the franchise could expand into TV shows in international territories, with the stars of those shows then crossing over to appear in the main features alongside Butler — in other words, a …Has Fallen universe.
Whether those plans come to fruition, especially with production worldwide crippled by the pandemic, remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: the three films so far have been moneymakers. Olympus Has Fallen (2013), directed by Antoine Fuqua, hauled in $170 million worldwide, while Babek Najafi’s London Has Fallen (2016) earned $205 million and Angel Has Fallen took in another $147 million.
While those numbers are relatively modest, the difference is that the …Has Fallen movies have been made on reasonable budgets of $70 million, $60 million and $40 million respectively. That’s a return of $522 million on a total production investment of $170 million, not too shabby for a series that hasn’t exactly been a critical darling, headlined by an actor who has never been called up to the Avengers and whose name isn’t Tom Cruise or Will Smith.
So fans of the …Has Fallen series, take heart: Mike Banning will rise again to both save his boss and his dad’s sanity. In the meantime, we’ll have more about Waugh and Butler’s Greenland just as soon as the killer comet movie lands a new release date after abandoning its original September 25 landing earlier this week.