With a clever take on the “screen life” sub-genre (it’s like your computer screen, but a movie) and the crazy likability of leading man John Cho, Searching was one of last year’s biggest little hits. And like Unfriended before it, Searching will have its very own sequel, as Deadline reports that Sony’s Stage 6 is developing a follow-up. Unfortunately for pretty much everyone, John Cho probably won’t be in the sequel: Director Aneesh Chaganty and co-writer Sev Ohanian are said to be developing a story that involves a new plot and cast.
Following its debut at the 2018 Sundance film festival, Searching was snatched up by Sony for $5 million and went on to gross $75 million worldwide. The film centers on Cho’s David, a widowed father struggling to parent his social media-obsessed 16-year-old daughter. When she goes missing, David uses her laptop to follow any digital breadcrumbs his daughter may have left behind. Chaganty’s film has easily made the best use of the screen life approach, which relies entirely on characters’ computer and phone screens, security cameras, et al. to tell a story. While the plot of the first film was contained to David’s story, there’s certainly potential to use the same approach to explore other stories. But if they really want to make this as realistic as possible, the sequel needs to have at least one scene in which the lead character minimizes whatever procedural trash they’re binging on Netflix to browse ice trays on Amazon for an hour before ultimately just watching the same episode of 30 Rock for the 12th time in as many months.