In what is no doubt the best news in poker cinema history, the Weinstein company announced that they’re set to begin filming a Rounders sequel. The Weinstein company and Miramax were able to reach a deal that allows for Rounders 2 to finally be made. As Harvey Weinstein revealed, Rounders 2 is going to be filmed “instantaneous.” A few other points that he revealed include the following:
- Matt Damon (Mike McDermott) and Edward Norton (Worm) will be back to reprise their roles.
- The movie will start out in Paris, then move to “the racetrack and Vegas.”
- Weinstein is looking for a new supervillain to replace John Malkovich (Teddy KGB).
The first thing that should be mentioned right away is how Weinstein is in talks with Robert De Niro to play the villain. De Niro is more than experienced with gambling films, having played Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein in the 1995 cult classic Casino. By many accounts, De Niro was magnificent in his role as a handicapper turned casino boss.
When Malkovich played Teddy KGB, he brought to life an unforgettable and dangerous character. It’s not a stretch to think that De Niro could bring the same fire and element of danger that Malkovich had. But is this enough to make Rounders 2 a good movie?
According to RottenTomatoes.com, the original Rounders was pretty well liked, garnering a 65% positive rating from critics and an 88% rating from audiences. More importantly, it inspired a generation of new players who were fascinated by the underground poker world.
From a critical perspective, Rounders 2 has a lot to live up to. Plus there’s the whole sequel curse, where many movies pale in comparison to their predecessors. But one thing that the Rounders sequel has working in its favor is the huge gap between it and the first film. So even if Rounders 2 isn’t quite as memorable as the original, it can at least avoid some of the inevitable comparisons.
The fact that the winning combination of Damon and Norton will be back is certainly another plus working in this movie’s favor. These guys are both huge Hollywood stars and can still propel box office sales. And don’t forget that the poker world have grown much larger in recent years, which provides a pretty large movie-watching base of its own.
Whether Rounders 2 turns out to be a better and more inspiring poker film than the first one remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure: it’ll easily surpass the disappointing $22 million in box office sales that the original Rounders generated.