January 4, 2012 / 12:55 AM / 8 years ago

Despite poor box office, "Dragon Tattoo" sequel moves ahead

LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - The girl with the dragon tattoo is getting ready to play with fire in the U.S.

Cast member Rooney Mara arrives for the premiere of the film "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" in New York December 14, 2011. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Despite the weak box-office performance of the U.S. remake of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” so far, the sequel, “The Girl Who Played With Fire,” is moving forward, a Sony spokesperson has confirmed to TheWrap.

Steven Zaillian, who also wrote and executive produced “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” is writing the screenplay for the next U.S. film based on Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s “Millennium” series.

Stars Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara are contractually obligated for the two sequels.

While David Fincher has not signed on for “Fire,” the Sony representative said the company wants him to direct the sequel. Fincher previously said that he would want to shoot the sequels — “Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” — back to back, if he were to sign on for the final two installments.

A representative for Anonymous Content, the management company that represents Fincher, did not respond to a request for comment. Ole Sondberg, one of the producers of “Dragon Tattoo,” declined comment on the project.

Since its December 20 release, “Dragon Tattoo” has grossed $60 million domestically. It has grossed an additional $12 million in the other markets in which it has opened, including Sweden and the U.K.

That’s well short of the movie’s $90 million production budget. It’s also less than the $104 million grossed by 2009’s Swedish “Dragon Tattoo” film, which had a $13 million nut, and grossed $10 million at North America box office.

Sony says the U.S. version of “Dragon Tattoo” is on track to gross more than $100 million domestically, and that the results would be in line with the studio’s expectations if the movie hit that figure.

“The film has performed very well in its first two weeks of release, and with great word of mouth and excellent reviews, it will continue to do strong and steady business into the new year,” Sony spokesman Steve Elzer told TheWrap.

The movie’s less-than-stellar box office performance could be due to a number of factors. Due to sexually explicit content including multiple rape scenes, and graphic violence, the movie has a hard-R rating.

Also, the dark drama was released during the holiday season, competing with family-friendly films like “War Horse” and “We Bought a Zoo,” and action movies like “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” and “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.” Lastly, fans of the books may have already had their fill with the original Swedish versions of the movies.

But while “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” has had trouble at the box office, approval from audiences and critics has not been an issue. The movie has an 85 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and has been nominated for Golden Globe and Producers Guild of America Awards.

The sequel is reportedly being targeted for a late 2013 release, although the studio would not comment on its planned release date.

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