While never a favorite of critics, the Underworld franchise has spent nearly two decades quietly racking up box office hit after box office hit. Directed by Len Wiseman and introducing Kate Beckinsale to what is now arguably her signature role of vampire “death dealer” Selene, the original Underworld hit theaters back in the fall of 2003. Made on a mere $22 million budget, Underworld went on to gross nearly $100 million worldwide, and quickly earn a reputation as one of the most stylish action flicks since The Matrix.
This naturally led to the 2006 sequel Underworld: Evolution, which performed almost as well, bringing in $111 million worldwide on an estimated budget of $45 million. The series hit a slight hiccup in popularity with 2009 prequel Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, with many attributing this to the absence of star Beckinsale. Still the film earned $91 million on a $35 million budget, another big financial success. Then, 2012’s Underworld: Awakening saw Beckinsale’s Selene make her triumphant return to the franchise, hauling in $160 million on a $70 million budget.
With those kind of returns on each investment, it’s no surprise that Screen Gems is preparing to soon unleash Underworld: Blood Wars on the pop culture world. Unlike the Resident Evil franchise – another action/horror property that gained popularity in the mid-2000s and is set to release a new sequel soon – Underworld: Blood Wars is not being billed as Selene’s final adventure, so if this fifth installment does as well as its predecessors, there’s no reason to believe Underworld 6 won’t be on the way in another few years. Screen Gems has released a cool new snow-covered poster for Blood Wars, which features Selene sliding into battle. Check it out below.
Underworld: Blood Wars is set to be helmed by first time feature director Anna Foerster, who has up until now primarily worked in TV, directing episodes of shows like Criminal Minds and Outlander. Considering how female-centered the Underworld franchise tends to be, one could argue that allowing a woman to direct an entry in the saga is a step long overdue.
Plot wise, Blood Wars is set to directly continue from where Awakening ended, with Selene on the run from both the Lycans and the Vampire faction that betrayed her previously. Her only remaining allies are David (Theo James), and his father Thomas (Charles Dance). This time out, Selene is determined to bring an end to the eternal war between the two races once and for all, even if she has to sacrifice herself to do so. Of course, if she does that, there won’t be another sequel, so fans will likely hope she manages to beat the odds once again. If there’s one thing Selene knows how to do, it’s survive.
Underworld: Blood Wars sinks its teeth into theaters on January 6, 2017.