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This $170 Million Action Movie Hit Killed The Best American Assassin 2 Plan


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Summary

  • The 2013 blockbuster Olympus Has Fallen already used up American Assassin 2’s best potential sequel hook.
  • Olympus Has Fallen’s White House siege idea is very similar to the first Mitch Rapp novel, Transfer of Power.
  • The producers of American Assassin considered adapting the book Kill Shot for a second movie, which didn’t ultimately happen.


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American Assassin 2 could have potentially adapted one of the best Mitch Rapp books, but a 2013 action blockbuster already used the concept. The Mitch Rapp books by Vince Flynn follow the titular special operative, who rather aggressively tackles any terrorist threat facing America. Flynn’s pulpy political thrillers felt custom-made for the big screen, but the road to an eventual Mitch Rapp movie was far from smooth. Producers originally planned to make Consent to Kill the first entry in a new series, with Colin Farrell or Chris Hemsworth being eyed to star.


It was ultimately decided American Assassin would be the best way to launch a potential series since the book followed Rapp’s origin story. Dylan O’Brien was cast as Rapp, with the story following the character’s recruitment and training by the CIA while hunting a mercenary who has stolen nuclear material. American Assassin made many changes to Flynn’s book, received tepid reviews and grossed $67 million worldwide (via Box Office Mojo). While not a terrible performance for an R-rated action movie with a modest budget, it didn’t perform well enough to receive a sequel.


Olympus Has Fallen Used American Assassin’s Best Sequel Idea

White House Down followed soon after

Olympus Has Fallen Movie Poster

Olympus Has Fallen

Release Date
March 21, 2013

Director
Antoine Fuqua

Writers
Creighton Rothenberger

Budget
$70 million


Mitch Rapp was introduced in 1999 novel Transfer of Power, where terrorists seize the White House, and it is up to Rapp to save the day. The book is very much of its time, but readers really took a shine to Rapp as a character, plus Transfer of Power had an undeniably great hook. It’s also one of the most popular Rapp stories and had American Assassin 2 happened, it would have been logical as the next movie. Unfortunately, 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen already used Transfer of Power’s White House seize angle and launched a new franchise in the process.

Terrorists also took over the White House during season 7 of
24
, back in 2009. Flynn had served as a story consultant for the real-time thriller in its fifth season.


Olympus Has Fallen itself was followed months later by White House Down, starring Channing Tatum. The latter had the bigger budget and stars, but Olympus had already eaten its lunch, so the runner-up bombed. Mitch Rapp readers weren’t long spotting the similarities between Transfer of Power and Olympus either, with many reaching out to Flynn about it. In a 2013 message (via FlickDirect), Flynn revealed he was aware of both White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen, but he had no intention of taking legal action since there was no way to prove they had ripped off his book.

It is exceptionally difficult to prove in court, costs lots of time and money and usually amounts to a great deal of frustration. My team and I have decided to stay focused on the Rapp Franchise-writing one great Rapp novel a year and getting American Assassin made into a movie.


Olympus Has Fallen would gross $170 million worldwide (via Box Office Mojo). It’s interesting to note the movie’s director Antoine Fuqua and star Gerard Butler had both been attached to Consent to Kill a few years before Olympus entered production. It should also be noted that a treatment for the latter was written and submitted to the WGA in 2002 (via THR), but the eventual spec script didn’t sell until 2012.

Transfer Of Power Is Very Different From Olympus Has Fallen

Mitch Rapp’s book debut doesn’t have much in common with the 2013 blockbuster

Gerard Butler as Banning holding a machine gun in front of a burning White House in Olympus Has Fallen


Sadly, Flynn would never get to see Mitch Rapp on the big screen, with the author passing away from cancer in June 2013. Those who wish to see Olympus Has Fallen as an unofficial Transfer of Power adaptation can do so, but outside the basic idea, they don’t have much in common and play out very differently. In the book, terrorists seize the White House during a press conference, with the President being evaluated to a bomb shelter. Unfortunately, this shelter isn’t finished and the terrorists plan to cut into it to retrieve him.


Related

American Assassin Ending Explained

American Assassin’s ending sees Dylan O’Brien’s Mitch Rapp preventing a major disaster, before wrapping up one last piece of personal business.


Rapp then infiltrates the White House but spends much of the novel hiding in a safe room doing reconnaissance. It’s only in the final chapters of Transfer of Power that the action kicks in, whereas in Olympus Has Fallen, it’s relatively non-stop. Butler’s Banning and Rapp have the same blunt approach to taking down terrorists and disobeying orders, but in terms of story, characters or themes, they differ a lot The same is true of White House Down, which is far goofier and less political than Transfer of Power.

The Book American Assassin’s Producers Wanted To Use For A Sequel

Producers would have been faithful to Vince Flynn’s book order


According to a 2017 article at TwinCities, the producers behind American Assassin were looking at Kill Shot as the next book to adapt. The latter is the second prequel novel in the Mitch Rapp series, with the assassin being forced to go on the run after a mission in Paris goes very wrong. Kill Shot makes sense for a direct sequel, and would have given O’Brien a chance to develop his take on Rapp even further.


That said, it lacks the high concept hook of Transfer of Power, but even if Olympus Has Fallen itself had flopped, it had already used up the novelty of the “Die Hard in the White House” idea. There don’t appear to be any plans for a new Mitch Rapp/American Assassin movie, but in an era where similar properties like Reacher or Jack Ryan are streaming hits, a new take on Flynn’s creation is inevitable.


Source: Box Office Mojo, FlickDirect, Box Office Mojo, THR, TwinCities


American Assassin

Directed by Michael Cuesta, 2017’s American Assassin is a Thriller and Action film starring Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan, Shiva Negar, and Dylan O’Brien. The premise sees a Cold War veteran and CIA Black Ops recruit that must band together to stop a nuclear device from detonating.

Release Date
September 14, 2017

Cast
Kamil Lemieszewski , Sanaa Lathan , Trevor White , Dylan O’Brien , David Suchet , Scott Adkins , Andrew Pleavin , Michael Keaton , Taylor Kitsch , Shiva Negar , Navid Negahban

Budget
$33million

Studio(s)
Lionsgate

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