Happy Death Day 3 may be sidetracked by the pandemic, but director Christopher Landon is making it abundantly clear that it’s still on his docket, and he’s itching to get back to work. Thusly, Landon has revealed the film’s actual working title, its current status and a potentially game-changing plot detail.
Happy Death Day to Us is the working title for the threequel, as returning franchise-spanning director Landon reveals in an interview with Empire. The film franchise, a horror genre hybrid of sorts that puts an irreverent self-parodying spin on the Groundhog Day-esque concept of time-looping, became a surprise hit upon the arrival of 2017’s original Happy Death Day, which grossed $125.5 million worldwide off a microscopic $4.8 million budget. Yet, 2019 sequel Happy Death Day 2U wasn’t quite as impactful with $64.6 million worldwide against an upped $9 million budget, but still proved profitable, leaving sequel prospects on the table, especially with studio Blumhouse’s eponymous producer, Jason Blum, as a proponent. However, COVID temporarily halted any progress on that front. Indeed, as Landon explains of the third film’s status:
“It’s definitely off to the side at the moment. I wish it wasn’t, and I know that [Jason Blum, producer] is passionate about it, I know I’m very passionate about it, and I know that Jessica [Rothe] is really eager to do it as well. I wrote the idea for the third movie some time ago. I think we’re all excited by it, because it’s different than the other two films, and so we’re really just crossing our fingers and hoping that our fanbase continues to grow – which is something that I’ve really enjoyed watching over the years, seeing more and more people discover both films. So, who knows? There might be a time when it makes sense, and hopefully it’s sooner rather than later.”
The film will, of course, continue a journey down an increasingly esoteric rabbit hole from 2017’s Happy Death Day, which followed the time-loop ordeal of quirky coed Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe), who keeps getting killed—in increasingly absurd ways—by an unknown masked assailant, only to wake up and relive the same day. 2019 sequel Happy Death Day 2U revealed that Tree’s ordeal was caused by an experimental quantum reactor, and built to a twist ending revealing elevated stakes involving government agency DARPA. With no substantive update on when production on Happy Death Day to Us will commence, Landon does provide fans a consolation prize of sorts with plot details, revealing of its timeframe:
“The idea for the third film is not set in the same day, if that’s a big spoiler. So, it can happen later,” he adds, “We’re not up against a really difficult clock right now. The other movies were hard, because they were set in the exact same day, so everybody had to look the same, be the same. The pressure is off there.”
As for the revealed working title, which he believes he’s free to divulge, as he puts it, “without pissing everybody off,” he points to the elephant in the proverbial room, namely that, “It does not have the ‘3’ in there!” Whether that aspect proves pertinent to the picture remains to be seen.
It will certainly be interesting to see how Happy Death Day to Us (or whatever title it ultimately brandishes,) takes shape. With the cliffhanger style ending for Happy Death Day 2U having teased secret government-accosted fates for Tree and cohorts Carter (Isreal Broussard), Ryan (Phi Vu), Samar (Suraj Sharma), and Dre (Sarah Yarkin), we could be in for an unapologetically wacky threequel that further flies in the face of its original horror designation as a standout piece of space-time-touting genre-satirical cinema.