Why Happy Death Day 3 Hasn’t Happened Yet

Writer/director Christopher Landon has a story for a third Happy Death Day film, but explains what’s holding it up.

Jessica Rothe in Happy Death Day 2U
Photo: Blumhouse/Universal

Back in 2017, Blumhouse scored a big hit with writer/director Christopher Landon’s Happy Death Day, a sci-fi/horror comedy in which an excellent Jessica Rothe played a college student who keeps waking up to relive the day on which a serial killer slaughters her.

A sort of hybrid of Scream and Groundhog Day, Happy Death Day was acclaimed by critics, earned $125 million at the box office and was followed two years later by Happy Death Day 2U, which continued the story but emphasized a more sci-fi angle to the tale as Roth’s character found herself in an alternate dimension.

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Happy Death Day 2U, however, while profitable, grossed half the box office of its predecessor. Although Landon and Blumhouse had announced plans to turn the series into a trilogy, development on Happy Death Day 3 (working title) seemed to peter out after the less enthusiastic response to the second film.

But both Landon and Blumhouse head Jason Blum have expressed continued interest in making a third entry, with Landon even revealing earlier this fall that he had a title (Happy Death Day to Us) and a treatment written for the movie. In a recent interview for his new film, Freaky, Landon confirmed the title to us and acknowledged why Happy Death Day to Us has been held up.

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“That is the title, and I don’t know if it’s ever going to happen,” says Landon. “Jason wants to do it, Jessica Rothe wants to do it. The whole cast wants to do the third movie. It’s interesting because we have wonderful support at (Blumhouse distributor) Universal, in terms of there are people at Universal who genuinely loved the franchise and I think would love to make a third one.”

Landon adds, “But nobody has actually approached me still and said, ‘Hey, we should do this.’ And it’s a little surprising given, I think, the really broad fan base that we’ve built over the years, but I’m not going to count it out.”

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While he doesn’t want to give away too much of his concept for the third film, Landon teases, “I can say that it does shift genres again, a bit, in a very unexpected manner and the clue is in the title. It was much like when I had the epiphany and the idea for the second movie, I had the same experience on the third idea, which is why it really did become a trilogy in my head. Whether or not we actually get to fulfill that is a whole other story. Really the fate of the franchise is in Universal’s hands.”

Given that the films are typically low-budget as part of the Blumhouse production model (the first one cost $4.8 million, while the second came in at $9 million), it seems odd that a third one couldn’t follow the same path even if costs twice as much again to make.

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As for Jason Blum, we asked him about Happy Death Day to Us during the same round of interviews for Freaky and his response was, “I definitely want it to happen. It’s not back on now, but one of these days we’re going to make the third installment to that movie, even if it kills me.”

Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that point. Both previous films were certainly smart, funny and fresh, so it would be nice to see how Landon wraps up his story. In the meantime, his new horror/comedy mash-up, Freaky, arrives this Friday in theaters.