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The Top 10 standings on Netflix are absolutely wild at any given time, but especially in the world of 2020. After almost a decade in obscurity, the fact that Hugh Jackman’s family drama/sci-fi fighting flick Real Steel has proven this fact pretty strongly, as the film is dominating on Netflix. How strong of a victory are we talking? Try a third place showing, only standing behind brand new Netflix originals like Ratched and Enola Holmes. In times like this, I really can’t stop thinking about what that possible sequel would be like, and whether now may be the time to make it a reality.
Real Steel did well for itself back in the day; in fact, when it came out in 2011, the Hugh Jackman robot film raked in almost $300 million on a $110 million budget. Not counting for print and advertising, as well as any other expenses we can’t account for in the public realm, that’s not a bad showing at all. Now, with people flocking to the movie on the subscription streamer over this past weekend, and making it the highest ranking non-original Netflix program in the U.S. right at this very moment, it potentially opens a lot of doors.
If people are running to Real Steel on Netflix, that has to mean one of two things: either a whisper campaign to make the film a hit on the streaming platform has successfully driven fans to boost those standings, or a lot of random subscribers have finally discovered or re-discovered director Shawn Levy’s film on the streaming giant’s library. No matter how you slice it, Real Steel is having a moment right now. Which makes director/producer Shawn Levy’s past comments on a potential sequel all the more important. Just a few short years ago, Levy clued the world in on the following concept for Real Steel 2's potential concept:
One area that I still would love to explore is that notion of how was Atom built? What is it about his design that might have embedded some artificial or organic intelligence and consciousness, such that he is self-aware to some extent? All I'll say is, we've attempted it a few times with a number of writers, and no draft got me, Hugh, and Steven all there to a yes in the same moment. It all felt like it wasn't quite enough to promise a new story and a new movie.
As you can see there are still some unanswered questions that Real Steel could dive into about Atom and his mysterious past, with Shawn Levy himself still fascinated by those prospects years after the first film's release. With the way the film ends in a very Rocky-style result with Atom becoming "the people's champion," anyone who has latched onto this charming bot in the past or present is going to want to see the robo-fighter win a clean, fair and square victory. Unfortunately, even with a strong kernel of an idea, no draft could get Shawn Levy, star Hugh Jackman, and executive producer Steven Spielberg to commit to getting a sequel off the ground. However, time has passed, and perhaps a window has opened for the hypothetical Real Steel 2 -- particularly in an era where Netflix has the goods to possibly make a project like this happen.
Seeing a Real Steel sequel head to Netflix wouldn’t be an unprecedented sort of move either, for two big reasons. First, sequels and even franchise origins have been acquired by the streaming studio time and again. Second, and more importantly, Shawn Levy has been a party of such action as well. As a producer of Stranger Things, as well as the director of the still-untitled Ryan Reynolds time travel-based comedy that the studio bought up earlier this year, Levy is nice and cozy with the company. Much like Atom waited until the right moment to deliver the upset against Zeus, this could be the absolute best chance for Real Steel 2 to happen, at a time when we could use some exciting robot boxing thrills.
Real Steel is what any good sci-fi underdog film wishes it could be. A tale of big heart, family values, and goofy but endearing humor, it’s no surprise that Netflix has seen this movie get another shot at the big time. This sort of stuff doesn’t happen by accident, and with the fortunes of Atom and The Kentons paying out rather nicely right now, as well as Hugh Jackman’s schedule unburdened of any Marvel X-Men action, it might be a good moment to consider another Real Steel installment. Netflix can always use the content, and the world can always use a heartfelt story of those once written off making it big.
Perhaps it’s time to finally start answering those lingering questions, while catching up with Charlie, Max, and Bailey, as well as their robot champion. Their story isn’t over yet, and the paths this new film could take to a potential return are as bright as they are tempting. Don’t just take my word for it though. Just try not wanting another movie with robot-on-robot fighting action after watching Real Steel yourself, as it’s now available on Netflix for your streaming pleasure. At the very least, a possible sequel is fun to think about.