Miramax and Broad Green Pictures announced today that principal photography has begun in Montréal, Québec, Canada on Bad Santa 2. The sequel is a follow-up to the raucous comedy hit Bad Santa first released in 2003. Geyer Kosinski will produce. Billy Bob Thornton is reprising his iconic role as Willie Soke in the sequel, with Mad Men star Christina Hendricks joining the cast last week.
Miramax has partnered with Broad Green Pictures to co-finance and co-produce Bad Santa. Broad Green will distribute Bad Santa 2 theatrically in the U.S. during the 2016 holiday season. Sierra/Affinity will handle foreign sales with sales starting at the upcoming American Film Market (November 4-11, 2015). Said Zanne Devine, Miramax's EVP of Film & TV.
"We've been waiting far too long to see Billy Bob's Willie Soke mess with the holiday season in his own unique way. We couldn't be more excited to partner with Billy Bob, the entire creative and producing team, and Broad Green and Sierra/Affinity to bring back the outrageous humor and characters that made this movie brand iconic in the first place."
The Bad Santa 2 cast also includes Kathy Bates, who portrays Willie Soke's mother, described as a "foul-mouthed" woman. Tony Cox (Marcus) and Brett Kelly (The Kid) will also reprise their roles from the original Bad Santa, but it isn't known if others such as Lauren Graham or Lauren Tom will be back for this follow-up. No story details have been released at this point, but hopefully we'll learn more as production gets under way.
David Thwaites is overseeing the project for Miramax and Victor Moyers for Broad Green Pictures. Bad Santa 2 is the latest project in a busy Miramax pipeline of new content. In July, Miramax in partnership with Roadside Attractions released the critically acclaimed summer specialty box office hit Mr. Holmes starring Academy Award nominees Ian McKellen and Laura Linney; in January, Miramax partnered with Sony-Screen Gems on the release of the Kevin Hart comedy hit The Wedding Ringer; the supernatural thriller TThe 9th Life of Louis Drax starring Jamie Dornan, Aaron Paul and Sarah Gadon is in post-production and represents Miramax's first foreign sales partnership with Sierra/Affinity; and as recently announced, Universal, Miramax and StudioCanal are co-financing Bridget Jones' Baby with Working Title producing. As a television studio, Miramax also just jointly announced with El Rey Network the third season of From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, with season two having concluded on El Rey Network on October 27.
The original Bad Santa earned $76.4 million at the box office from a $23 million production budget. The story centered on thieves Willie and Marcus, who would work as a mall Santa and his elf every year, before robbing the entire mall on Christmas Eve. When Willie meets a young kid (Brett Kelly) who keeps getting bullied, Willie steps up and befriends this youngster, while a mall security guard (Bernie Mac) uncovers their plan. Mark Waters (Mean Girls) is directing from a screenplay by Doug Ellin, Johnny Rosenthal and Shauna Cross. Geyer Kosinski and Andrew Gunn are producing, with Mark Waters and Doug Ellin serving as executive producers.