The Purge has grown from a moderately-sized cult-hit horror flick into a full-fledged franchise, which now consists of four movies and a popular tie-in TV series. In a recent interview with EW, Purge creator James DeMonaco revealed that the franchise could be coming to an end with the next film (aka The Purge 5):
“I have it in my head. I think I’m going to write it. I think it’s a great way to end it all. We want to end it all, I think, in this one, and I’m very excited. When I came up with the idea and pitched it to everybody, they seemed psyched, and I think it will be a really cool ending, how we take this one home.”
The film side of the franchise has consisted of The Purge, The Purge: Anarchy, The Purge: Election Year and most recently prequel film, The First Purge. After seeing how the original premise for the film has expanded into a larger socio-political metaphor, it's not hard to imagine that DeMonaco and company have been "inspired" by recent societal events to tell a story that either ends the tyranny of the New Founding Fathers and unites the American populace - or takes the more cynical view that this dark world is where we're headed, and the attempts to stop it will fail. The Purge could indeed be here to stay, by the end of this next film.
On the business side of things, now is probably the time for DeMonaco to be ending the Purge film series, if we're being honest. The concept has been stretched over more film than anyone ever imagined we'd see, and the opening weekend returns (while still solid) have been dwindling with each successive film - even though each new movie has eventually made a higher worldwide gross than the film that came before it. What that tells us is that The Purge has a dedicated fanbase that will turn out, even if the films themselves are no longer "event movies" that people flock to as soon as they hit theaters.
This trend in the numbers surrounding the franchise suggest that DeMonaco may have made the right move by taking The Purge to TV. The long form of television allows for much deeper exploration of each Purge night, while the nature of the franchise would allow for each new season to function in anthology fashion. In short, it's a way of keeping The Purge in front of fans more often and consistently, while opening the concept up to wider possibilities, at lower production costs.
What do you think: should The Purge series continue as movies? As just a TV series? Both or neither?
You can catch The Purge Tuesday nights on USA Network.