Sony Pictures’ Stage 6 Films sets up a sequel to the innovative 2018 thriller Searching

Sony Pictures is moving forward with a new sequel to their critically-acclaimed 2018 thriller Searching, though it won’t be a direct follow-up.

The original thriller followed David Kim (John Cho), whose 16-year-old daughter Margot (Michelle La) goes missing, told through an innovative format known as ‘Screenlife.’

The sequel will tell a brand new story from the original, with Will Merrick and Nick Johnson, who worked on the original Searching, making their directorial debuts, via Deadline.

Sequel: Sony Pictures is moving forward with a new sequel to their critically-acclaimed 2018 thriller Searching, though it won’t be a direct follow-up

New directors: The sequel will tell a brand new story from the original, with Will Merrick and Nick Johnson, who worked on the original Searching, making their directorial debuts, via Deadline

New directors: The sequel will tell a brand new story from the original, with Will Merrick and Nick Johnson, who worked on the original Searching, making their directorial debuts, via Deadline

The sequel will also showcase what’s described as, ‘an evolved Screenlife thriller format, where the story unfolds through the screens (phones, laptops, etc.) of the characters.

The first movie followed David as he broke into his daughter’s laptop and other devices to search for clues to her whereabouts, while a police detective (Debra Messing) works on the case as well.

Merrick and Johnson are directing from a script they’re writing themselves, based on a story concocted by Searching director Aneesh Chaganty and co-writer Sev Ohanian, who will both serve as producers on the sequel.

First movie: The first movie followed David as he broke into his daughter's laptop and other devices to search for clues to her whereabouts, while a police detective (Debra Messing) works on the case as well

First movie: The first movie followed David as he broke into his daughter’s laptop and other devices to search for clues to her whereabouts, while a police detective (Debra Messing) works on the case as well

Return: Merrick and Johnson are directing from a script they're writing themselves, based on a story concocted by Searching director Aneesh Chaganty (left, with John Cho) and co-writer Sev Ohanian, who will both serve as producers on the sequel.

Return: Merrick and Johnson are directing from a script they’re writing themselves, based on a story concocted by Searching director Aneesh Chaganty (left, with John Cho) and co-writer Sev Ohanian, who will both serve as producers on the sequel.

Also producing is Timur Bekmambetov, who pioneered the Screenlife genre by producing films such as Unfriended and Profile, plus Natalie Qasabian and Adam Sidman.

Jo Henriquez will serve as executive producer and Congyu E is co-producing the project, which is expected to start filming this spring.

‘With such restrictive visual parameters, a movie like Searching 2 requires a fresh visual style to separate it from the original,” Chaganty said.

Screenlife: Also producing is Timur Bekmambetov, who pioneered the Screenlife genre by producing films such as Unfriended and Profile, plus Natalie Qasabian and Adam Sidman

Screenlife: Also producing is Timur Bekmambetov, who pioneered the Screenlife genre by producing films such as Unfriended and Profile, plus Natalie Qasabian and Adam Sidman

‘I’ve contributed what I can to this growing sub-genre. But if there’s anyone on the planet with the potential to take it even further, it’s Nick and Will, who were there from the beginning,’ he added.

Bekmambetov added, ‘Searching is so far the most successful movie shot in the Screenlife format and the sequel is set to become a new milestone.’

‘What seemed like an experimental technique a few years ago has been given a momentum now with more and more industry professionals turning to this digital filmmaking technique,’ he added.

Sub-genre: ‘I’ve contributed what I can to this growing sub-genre. But if there’s anyone on the planet with the potential to take it even further, it’s Nick and Will, who were there from the beginning,’ he added

Merrick and Johnson both served as the editors and the ‘directors of virtual photography on the original Searching.

Searching debuted at Sundance in January 2018 to rave reviews, earning both the Alfred P. Sloan Award (given to the film that embraces science and/or technology) and the NEXT Audience Award.

It was picked up for $5 million by Sony Pictures shortly after its debut, and arrived in theaters in August 2018, with a 92% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a worldwide gross of just over $75 million, against a budget of just $880,000.

Editors: Merrick and Johnson both served as the editors and the 'directors of virtual photography on the original Searching

Editors: Merrick and Johnson both served as the editors and the ‘directors of virtual photography on the original Searching

Rave reviews: Searching debuted at Sundance in January 2018 to rave reviews, earning both the Alfred P. Sloan Award (given to the film that embraces science and/or technology) and the NEXT Audience Award

Rave reviews: Searching debuted at Sundance in January 2018 to rave reviews, earning both the Alfred P. Sloan Award (given to the film that embraces science and/or technology) and the NEXT Audience Award

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