Universal Pictures is finally moving forward on a Mamma Mia sequel, which will be called Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again. The studio has brought on Ol Paker (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) to write and direct this musical sequel. Original cast members Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård, Julie Walters and Christine Baranski will all return. Littlestar's Judy Craymer and Playtone's Gary Goetzman, who produced the original, will return as producers for the sequel, which will hit theaters next summer.
Variety reports that Universal has set a July 20, 2018 release date, which as of now will put this musical sequel up against 20th Century Fox's sci-fi action thriller Alita: Battle Angel, and an untitled DreamWorks Animation/20th Century Fox/Blue Sky Animation production. The site reports that Universal has been kicking around ideas for how to make a follow-up work for years, with one potential angle said to be a prequel. While it isn't known if Universal has signed off on this idea or not, this approach would focus on Donna (Meryl Streep), Harry (Colin Firth) and Sam (Pierce Brosnan), several years before the events of the first movie.
The original musical follows Donna, an independent, single mother who owns a small hotel on an idyllic Greek island, who is about to let go of Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), the spirited daughter she's raised alone. For Sophie's wedding, Donna has invited her two lifelong best girlfriends-practical and no-nonsense Rosie (Julie Walters) and wealthy, multi-divorcee Tanya (Christine Baransk) from her one-time backing band, Donna and the Dynamos. But Sophie has secretly invited three guests of her own. On a quest to find the identity of her father to walk her down the aisle, she brings back three men from Donna's past to the Mediterranean paradise they visited 20 years earlier.
Over 24 chaotic, magical hours, new love will bloom and old romances will be rekindled on this lush island full of possibilities. The ensemble cast includes Stellan Skarsgard, Nancy Baldwin, Heather Emmanuel, Colin Davis, Rachel McDowall and Ashley Lilley, with this story told with a soundtrack that includes several different songs from the hit 1970s group ABBA. The original movie earned an impressive . The sequel is said to have a number of different ABBA songs that weren't used in the first movie, along with a few songs that will be back from the first. It isn't clear if a full track list has been worked out quite yet.
The first movie earned $144.1 million domestically and $609.8 million worldwide, from just a $52 million budget. It isn't clear if this musical sequel will get a much bigger budget this time around or not. Ol Parker is best known for writing both The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and its follow-up, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. He has also written and directed Imagine Me & You and Now Is Good. With a July 2018 release date already set, don't be surprised if production starts soon on Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again. Hopefully we'll get some casting updates soon if filming does start in the near future.