Ealing Studios is planning a sequel to its hit St Trinian's film. Piers Ashworth and Nick Moorcroft, who worked on the 2007 project, are writing the sequel script now.
The ensemble cast of last year's film featured Colin Firth, Rupert Everett, Stephen Fry, Lena Headey, Russell Brand, Gemma Arterton, Mischa Barton, Jodie Whittaker,and Lily Cole. There is no word yet who will reprise their roles in the planned sequel.
The schoolgirl comedy, based on the cartoons by Ronald Searle and reviving the popular film franchise from the 1950s and 1960s, had a budget of $13m (£6.5m) and has become one of the recent surprise smash hits at the UK box office, taking $24.8m (£12.3m) in its home territory.
Barnaby Thompson, head of Ealing Studios, who produced and co-directed St Trinian's alongside Oliver Parker, suggests success is largely down to the support and guaranteed distribution deal with Entertainment Film Distributors. 'Entertainment was very supportive,' says Thompson. 'Without that, the numbers wouldn't have added up.
'The challenge with the film was that, in order for it to compete, it had to be made on a big scale. We were very ambitious in terms of the production values and the casting. And the fact that it's a concept that is very UK-centred made it difficult. It had to have a budget that was big enough but also achievable in the UK.'
St Trinian's, sold by Ealing's new sales arm Ealing Studios International, has also sold to a number of territories where it has yet to open, including Italy, Germany, France and Scandinavia.
For more on UK films at the box office, see this week's Screen International.