The 2018 mystery-thriller Searching, a "Screenlife" movie starring John Cho that took place entirely on computers and mobile devices, is getting a sequel. Cho was joined in the feature by Debra Messing, neither of whom are expected to appear in the follow-up as it will reportedly "tell a different story from the original" according to a report from Deadline. Directing pair Will Merrick & Nick Johnson will make their feature film debut as directors while also penning the script.. The duo previously worked with Searching director Aneesh Chaganty on his recent feature film Run and the original Searching. Filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov, the producer behind Searching with plans for even more Screenlife movies, will return as well.
The trade notes that plot details on the film remain under wraps but that it "will feature a new set of characters and an evolved Screenlife thriller format where the story plays out on the screens of the characters’ devices." Searching followed a father (Cho) who breaks into his daughter's devices to look for clues about her whereabouts after she goes missing. It seems likely that the new film will follow a similar plot thread, assuming that "Searching" is still part of the title upon release. Production is eyeing a Spring start date.
“With such restrictive visual parameters, a movie like Searching 2 requires a fresh visual style to separate it from the original,” Aneesh Chaganty said in a statement. “I’ve contributed what I can to this growing sub-genre. But if there’s anyone on the planet with the potential to take it even further, it’s Nick and Will, who were there from the beginning.”
“Searching is so far the most successful movie shot in the Screenlife format and the sequel is set to become a new milestone," Bekmambetov added. "What seemed like an experimental technique a few years ago has been given a momentum now with more and more industry professionals turning to this digital filmmaking technique.”
“On Searching, Will and Nick pioneered a new visual language and pushed the boundaries of what editors could contribute to a film," producer Natalie Qasabian said. "We are lucky and beyond excited to be working with them in their new roles as writers and directors on the sequel.”
Produced on a reported budget of $880k, the first Searching became a huge success at the global box office, bringing in $75 million worldwide. It followed in the steps of the horror movie Unfriended and its 2018 sequel "Dark Web" in not only using the Screenlife format but in bringing in a ton of money on a minimal investment.