Over the past few years, Netflix has developed a reputation for being, ah, slightly less than transparent with its viewer data. Typically, the only time the streaming giant will share information about its titles is when a movie breaks through in a big way. That seems to be the case with “Murder Mystery,” the cozy international thriller that reunited Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. When the film was released this past June, Netflix announced that the film had been watched by a staggering “30,869,863” worldwide accounts over its three-day release window, officially making it the best-performing Netflix opening of all time. So sequels? Inevitable.
On Friday, Netflix announced a second “Murder Mystery” movie, with Aniston and Sandler targeted to reprise their roles from the first film. Given the ongoing relationship between Sandler and Netflix—they are in the middle of an eight-picture deal that seems to have served both parties exceptionally well—there’s a pretty good chance that at least one-half of the Spitzs will be back in the saddle. James Vanderbilt, the writer behind the first film, will return to write the sequel.
Despite the film’s low-effort premise, the original “Murder Mystery” wasn’t half-bad. Sandler and Aniston have genuine chemistry as a pair of middle-aged vacationers swept up in an escape from their everyday lives, and some of the jokes about marriage land a bit better than one might expect. Our own Alex David Lynch noted in his review that “there’s an awkward, yet enticing, creative spirit in mixing the leads’ urban, modern spirit with the antiquated environment around them,” which accurately captures the highlights of the original feature. If Vanderbilt and company can lean into the suburban-meets-1% disconnect in the sequel, there’s probably more humor to be mined from the film’s gentle premise.
Oh, and Netflix? Be sure to hire as many over-the-top actors as you can for supporting roles. Watching performers like Luke Evans and Gemma Arterton do their best versions of goofball Agatha Christie characters was half the fun. Find yourself a handful of former movie stars and let them cut loose.