Movie Reviews

District 9's Sequel Still Needs To Avoid Neill Blomkamp's Movie Curse

District 10, the long-awaited District 9 sequel, is possibly writer and director Neill Blomkamp’s chance to right the wrongs of his cursed film career. The breakout movie that kicked off Blomkamp’s career, District 9 is a science fiction-found footage drama set in Johannesburg, South Africa. It takes place in the aftermath of first contact, with the prawn-like extraterrestrial’s mothership hovering over the city. A refugee camp is set up to house the aliens, and it’s up to Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley), an employee of the Multinational United Department of Alien Affairs, to keep order. Yet, for all the promise of this intriguing and original setup, plans for the District 9 sequel have never really materialized – thanks in part to Blomkamp’s chequered directorial record.

In the years since District 9, was released, Neill Blomkamp’s career has been slightly derailed by a succession of flops. He went on to write and direct the dystopian epic Elysium starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster and moved into another dystopian action flick in 2015, Chappie. Chappie reunited Blomkamp and Sharlto Copley, which was filmed again in their native Johannesburg. But Blomkamp hasn’t made a good movie in the years since, including 2021’s Demonic, a box office bomb. Demonic is currently rated 14% on the Tomatometer (via Rotten Tomatoes), signaling a career worst for the director. If a District 9 sequel becomes a reality, there is hope that Neil Blomkamp can return to familiar form and demonstrate his strength as a writer and director again. If not, District 10 could risk ruining the reputation of arguably the one major success story on Blomkamp’s resumé.

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When District 9 was released, Neill Blomkamp indicated that a sequel could be in the works. After the critical and box office failure of the alien movie Demonic, the director confirmed that the pieces were in place for a District 9 sequel to be happening. Sharlto Copley is attached, and Terri Tachell will be writing the screenplay with Blomkamp. The sequel is intended to reflect a sign of the times, with current or recent events as a backdrop for the film’s plot. With that in mind, filming has yet to begin, so it may be a couple of years before audiences get a first glimpse at the sequel.

However, a District 9 sequel appears to be in development 13 years after the first film debuted. This will be welcome news for fans of a director who may not have taken a liking to his more recent projects. District 9 was a critically heralded darling when it was released, but other Neill Blomkamp movies have been disasters with critics and haven’t fared as well at the box office. Still, District 10 could shape up to be a career rebound for Blomkamp, as it is his own creation and not a dictation from larger studio involvement.

South African actor Sharlto Copley has revealed that he’s on board for a District 9 sequel, making District 10 all the more possible. In a 2022 interview (via, Copley spoke highly of the prospect of District 10, even admitting that he and director Neill Blomkamp talk about the project quite often. The actor also revealed that he and Blomkamp have written various drafts for the District 9 sequel, teasing that it could begin filming next year. “I mean, we came so close to doing it. So hopefully, after his next movie, maybe we’ll do it then,” Copley said. Blomkamp’s next film is a video game adaptation of Gran Turismo, so it’s likely that the District 9 sequel will begin filming after its release (if it happens).

District 9 wouldn’t be the first movie to receive a sequel decades after its initial run. There were more than 30 years between Top Gun and Top Gun: Maverick, with the sequel being the biggest box office smash of 2022. Similarly, there were 13 years between Avatar and Avatar: The Way of Water, and the second installment is making record numbers in theaters, meaning it could be the biggest movie of 2023. Either way, District 10 looks like it could be a distinct possibility, and recent releases prove that it doesn’t necessarily matter how much time is in between sequels.

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