At first, Universal didn’t think this was a big deal, since Wan could always make the other two Furious films he signed to make later. Paul Walker’s tragic death delayed that movie’s release, so Universal is obviously keen to get to work on the eighth instalment.
Furious 7 had a notoriously troubled production, with star Paul Walker dying in a vehicle crash halfway through shooting.
At any rate, Universal has a pile of money with which to convince someone to take on the gig (a tactic Universal used to try and snare Wan for “Furious 8” after Lin turned them down).
The outlet claims in addition to coming up short in the hunt for a director, the departure of studio co-president of production Jeffrey Kirschenbaum, who oversaw the Furious franchise, is causing even more problems. The race is on to find someone to take the reigns, do it with style and deliver the film for its April 14th 2017 release. As a producer, he is said to have questioned even small details on elaborate action sequences, often holding up the complex production.
Instead Wan, according to the Hollywood Reporter, has opted out to direct a sequel to his 2013 hit The Conjuring.
Universal is seeing a record year and almost $6.3-B in worldwide box office gross, and want at least 3 more F&F films.
While Universal had initially accepted his decision, they were forced to alter the offer for Wan after Justin Lin had chosen to direct “Star Trek” rather than the franchise’s eighth sequel. Then there was the matter of calling Wan into late-night script sessions to get a better understanding and feel for what his character was doing and the dialogue he’d be saying.
“Vin is tireless. It may be hard, but he is trying to win with this thing”, a source said.
“The studio and filmmakers loved working with James on ‘Furious 7, ‘ but he was never in the mix for an eighth film due to a scheduling conflict with ‘The Conjuring 2, ‘” an official statement read. Producer Neal Moritz, who has been with the franchise since its earliest days, actually told us back in July that they were consciously waiting to hire the next director until they had a better-developed screenplay, and a fuller idea for the direction of Fast 8. Non-Stop director Jaume Collet-Serra was also approached, but was not available.