Spider-Man: No Way Home director Jon Watts will be jumping into horror to help relaunch New Line's Final Destination franchise. Watts has reportedly joined the currently-titled "Final Destination 6" project as a producer, and also wrote the treatment for the story, which is being developed into a screenplay by Lori Evans Taylor (Bed Rest) and Guy Busick (Ready or Not, Scream 2022). Final Destination franchise shepherd Craig Perry is also onboard as a producer, as is franchise vet Sheila Hanahan. Jon Watts' wife and manager Dianne McGunigle will round out the producing team. This new Final Destination project will stream as an HBO Max Original.
Jon Watts actually started his career as a filmmaker in the scarier end of horror-thrillers; his debut film Clown drew the likes of Hostel director Eli Roth; his follow-up film, Cop Car, starred Kevin Bacon as a corrupt sheriff trying to get two boys who stole his car in the midst of a murder. If anything, it's Marvel's Spider-Man "Home Trilogy" that's been the biggest deviation for Watts. Now it looks like he'll be returning to this genre roots – even as he works on launching Marvel Studios' next big franchise, with the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He'll be doing another thriller as well, which already has heavyweights George Clooney and Brad Pitt attached.
Final Destination has been a reliable box office earner for New Line ever since the series began back in 2000. The five films are centered around the premise that Death is an entity that kills us according to a grand design, executed (literally) through Goldberg machine-style machinations that end in the gruesome deaths. The films only require the loosest of connections through the Death entity premise, allowing the studio to bring in fresh ensembles of unknown or rising talent (read: inexpensive) for each new installment – while the visual effects and overall production costs remained relatively low ($20-40 million). The films regularly grossed anywhere from $90-150+ million at the box office throughout the 2000s, and was one of the few franchises to benefit from embracing gimmicks like 3D in later installments.
This latest installment of Final Destination has been gestating for quite some time – Final Destination 5 came out way back in 2011; by 2019 it was announced that SAW 3D and Piranha 3DD team Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton would be doing the next installment – but that seems to have been de-railed by the COVID 19 pandemic.
An HBO Max streaming release may end up being a better venue altogether now, as fans continue to have hesitations about theatrical returns, and are looking for premium genre content on streaming. Warner Bros. and New Line can turn out a whole new saga of Final Destination pretty quickly, and regularly on HBO Max.