Mamma Mia! sequel story (Updated)

  • UPDATE: November 02, 2008 – See update article at the Sunday Times, where Judy Craymer thankfully effectively puts an end to any credible sequel rumours. Thanks also to Ian Cole.

By Baz Bamigboye:

The name of the game is that the movie Mamma Mia! has taken so much money, money, money (so much, in fact, that you have to say it three times) that a sequel would be like honey, honey.

A Hollywood studio chief who has seen the film take more than half a billion dollars worldwide told me ‘it makes sense’ to explore the possibility of making a follow-up picture, which would have to star Meryl Streep and fellow cast members such as Pierce Brosnan, Julie Walters and Colin Firth.

It would take some time to put together, so perhaps the new film project could be called Grandmamma Mia.

Top executive David Linde, co-chairman of Universal Pictures, the studio behind the movie, told me he would be delighted if Judy Craymer, the force behind the stage show and the film, writer Catherine Johnson and director Phyllida Lloyd could be persuaded to develop a storyline for a sequel. Abba song writers Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus would also have to agree to the project.

‘There are plenty of songs left,’ Linde said cheerfully. But as Ms Craymer observed when I contacted her: ‘It’s something that’ll take quite a lot of time and thought.

‘What’s more, we haven’t even discussed it among ourselves. It’s something exciting to think about  –  and something that you’d need to be passionate about. You couldn’t rush into it.’

She’s right because here’s the thing: Mamma Mia! looks deceptively easy on both stage and screen, but the whole thing has been carefully structured with strong underpinning, and each song carefully chosen.

As a thank-you, following the success of the film, Universal have given the three creative women behind Mamma Mia!  –  Craymer, Johnson and Lloyd  –  the gift of holidays, anywhere in the world. A perfect set up to consider a sequel?

Some critics were very snooty about the movie, missing the point entirely. Colin Firth, who played one of the film’s ‘dads’, put his finger on it when he said that the secret of the film’s success was that, with its Greek island setting, it was like a ‘virtual holiday’  –  about the only kind many of us will be able to afford soon.

Mamma Mia! has done particularly well in the UK and is within striking distance of supplanting Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone as the second-highest grossing film in the UK. (The DVD of Mamma Mia! will be released on November 24.)

Some even think that third-placed Mamma Mia!, which has UK takings of more than £65 million (and that doesn’t include soundtrack and T-shirt sales) could eventually displace No 1 Brit film Titanic, which took £69 million in the UK after its release in 1997.

Daily Mail

23 Replies to “Mamma Mia! sequel story (Updated)”

  1. Well what else did you expect. The film, like the stage show is totally captivating. The music is as timeless as ever. When Abba started having lots of big hits in the mid 70’s everyone said that they would never be as big as the Beatles. What rubbish. They left them in the dust. Abba are definitley eternal and their music timeless. this is why the stage show and Movie have done so well. Can you imagine the hysteria if they were to re unite for a few gigs.
    Well done to all who participated in the making of the stage show and Movie. It would be great if there could be a sequel.

  2. I had expected that Mamma Mia would become one of the biggest grossing movies off all time, it’s a given … the music of ABBA is so very loved by millions world wide! Yes, people would again flock to see a sequel, more wonderful escapism from the sickening violent crap and demonism Hollywood is immersed in. Whether there’s enough songs for that squeal? … well, if not, then ABBA just might have to stir up some enthusiasm and desire and head back to the recording studio! … could it be that uncomfortable for them? Like if only the members would truly understand how this would bring extreme jubilation and tears of joy to millions … I know I’d probably cry my head off to again hear a new ABBA song! It’s one of my long and enduring hopes that ABBA would have it in them to again record together. No need for anything other than spending the time together in the studio, no promotion or TV appearances required to otherwise impede upon their lives … just their wonderful music to again embrace us. Many groups and singers from the 70?s are still performing … ABBA, it was indeed very sad to see you leave so soon … you are very loved.

    Terry

  3. As they say, you should always leave a crowd wanting more…giving them more is`nt always a good thing!! ABBA`s true magic is of course the music…but it is good for all to remember them as they were…sadly things have to move on, thats life. Just look at the Rolling Stones, they now look like the "Rolling Grand-fathers"…you have got to know when to let go.

  4. I can’t set it happening. A major part of Mamma Mia’s success has been the inclusion of most of ABBA’s biggest, well-known hits, with only a few lesser-known album tracks. There have been some people who thought that Under Attack, Slipping Through My Fingers, Our Last Summer and When All Is Said And Done were new songs written for the show/movie! To make a sequel that would inevitably be filled with the "More ABBA Gold" catalogue would be courting failure.

    Knowing that Benny was so hesitant that the show would fail and damage ABBA’s reputation, I can’t see him allowing a sequel.

  5. Anyone know how much more Mamma needs before overtaking Harry Potter? – The UK Sunday papers had the same advert with the "time of your life" heading and the picture of the gang at the end during the encores songs, they have used this ad now for several weeks and I would hope they may revamp to try and get some more people in (or back again)so it can be listed as the second highest Uk gross. Unless they do some more active promotion I think Titanic top place is safe. Any ideas for what Universal can do for a last promotional push?

  6. Who needs a sequel! I’ve just booked to see the original for the 7th time and am almost as excited as I was for the 1st. Infact it just gets better and better!
    Yes admittedly I have loved everything ABBA since the 70’s and actually prefer a lot of those lesser known early or album tracks to the big hits but I’m really not sure that the masses today would "get them". Whilst I am delighted that the world loves Mamma Mia and spends hours pondering the reason for the ongoing success, I feel priviledged to know the real secrets. Lets keep it to ourselves x

  7. not sure whether the abba guys would want to do another take on this movie there are plenty of high energy and catchy songs left in the abba locker like summer night city, hole in your soul,knowing you knowing me,one of us, ring ring ,iam a tiger, why did it have to be me, etc etc but they would have to use one or two of the origional songs of this movie and surely that wouldnt work ,my only critisim of the movie is that it wasnt long enough and should have had more songs anda longer story to enhance the big screen version so i agree with most people in that it should be left as it is a masterpiece and being virtually number 2 in the all time uk box office tells its own story as they say it is best to leave at the top !

  8. The Universal Film Manager seems to be falling into the trap of thinking it?s just the Abba songs which make Mamma Mia such a phenomenon. If that was the case then the original Abba musical Abbacadabra would still be running and fun as that was that show is best forgotten (apart from the Time duet with Frida of course!) .
    While the success of Mamma Mia looks natural now it was uncertain when launched in 1999 and as much as Abba s connection got the publicity the musical took off due having that indefinable spark of magic which makes it such success as it reaches all ages and nationalities.
    That spark can never be manufactured its just something which happens on some productions and knowing the exacting standards of Judy, Benny and Bjorn they would never authorise anything which did not match or beat the standards Mamma Mia has set so I think we can safely assume a sequel is not on the cards. However many Abba songs contain more story and plot than many movies and I would hope that these may inspire future films, I am amazed no one has used "Take a chance on me " as a comedy or rom-com movie title yet and the basis is already there as ?Gimme, Gimme, Gimme? and ?the winner takes it all? have already been used in the UK as TV sitcom titles.

  9. If B&B don’t agree to a seguel, it will be a mistake,
    Imo, Universal have handed it to them on a plate,

    It can’t fail to make a profit, They can have creative control, they dont even need to stick to the same format, they could use the abba tunes only.
    But they have the chance to promote the lesser know abba music to a wider audience.

    The abba legacy, cant be tarnished, thats already set in stone. And dont forget abba never finished on an high, in 82. I saw Blondie in concert a year a two ago, and she was fantastic live, and full of energy, even though she is over 60 years, and groups like the rolling stones are still performing live, because hundreds of thousands of people around the world want to still enjoy seeing them live! if there was not the demand they would not be doing it. Age is just a number, live life to the full, you only get one, so take a chance!

  10. Well in the UK we are about 200,000 units off of knocking Harry Potter part 1 off the number two spot…..so next week, hey!! second largest grossing film of all time….could it shift "Titanic"? lets hope so…

  11. I think Benny & Björn will say no to a sequel. A sequel can never beat the first film and Benny would never accept if it is not good enough! Please remember all Abbas albums were different from the previous one – that´s something they always wanted to do, to develop their way of writing music not trying to repeat a success. Artistically today Benny has developed immensely since ABBA and I understand he would not want to go "back in time" – he doesn´t need to! Everything he puts his hands on turns into gold and that´s the way he intends to keep things! So no i do not think we will see a sequel – Benny & Björn have always been their own bosses!

  12. I would imaging the pressure from Universal for a sequal would be enormous.
    I agree with everyone else that it would be regarded simply as a cash in and compromise the integrity of Benny & Bjorn.
    I just can’t see them agreeing or the actors for that matter.
    If it does go ahead maybe the working title would be:
    Mamma Mia!: The Revenge – Here We Go Again!

  13. Benny & Björn will never agree to a sequel because it will not be good enough! Sequels never are! Good for them! Right from the beginning Benny & Björn have always walked their own path and have done what they believe in and have suceeded!They have nothing to proove anymore!

  14. mamma mias now took the uk all time no 2 spot with £66.8 milion amazing really!!its closing on titanic no1 spot(£69 million) can it make it? last week mm took just under one million it only needs another £2,2 million to sink the titanic if it does perhaps the pressure will be on for a sequel ?

  15. Yes now the U.K.`s second most successful film of all time…but the DVD is released in four weeks..will it be delayed as its still doing great business in the cinemas…NEVER known a DVD to be released when the films still doing great figures in cinemas!!!…but then again i suppose they want the Christmas takings on the DVD!!

  16. If they delayed the dvd release date by two weeks they would still have time for the christmas sales …depends whether universal pictures have the power to do this?it would be great promotion for universal to takethe number 1 spot over its rivals !!itll be interesting to see what happens !!

  17. At present, ‘Mamma Mia! has taken £67,379,780
    in the UK – ever closer to rising from 2nd to
    1st place, by overtaking the £69 Million which
    ‘Titanic’ took.

    So far – in the Weekly UK Top 10, ‘Mamma Mia!’
    has done this:,

    1 – 1 – 2 – 2 – 2 – 3 – 2 – 2 – 2 – 2 – 2 – 2

    4 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 9

    The 1st Film has been huge, but it was never
    original. The story/plot was clearly based on
    ‘Buona Sera, Mrs Campbell’ (1968). The Music
    was never original either – old ABBA Songs.

    Catherine Johnson never came up with anything
    original for that Show. There are many, many
    people who could have come up with a better
    plot for an ABBA Song Musical, than weakly
    written ‘Mamma Mia!’. (Many know this).

    People seem scared of any Sequels or Prequels
    to ‘Mamma Mia!’. Why? Sure, ‘Grease 2’ bombed,
    but that was because the Songs were written especially for it, & they were not as good as
    those for the first ‘Grease’. (The first ‘Grease’
    had been around as a Stage Show for Years, before
    it became a Film. The 2nd Film was just weak
    garbage – Plot & Songs).

    It truly is not the same with ‘Mamma Mia!’ – any
    Songs for a 2nd Film will have already been
    Hits on Studio Albums etc., for ABBA. They have
    been HITS, in other words. Nothing in ‘Grease 2’
    had been a Hit before – nor after!

    I truly do not understand this reluctance by many
    ABBA Fans for a 2nd Film to be made.
    Oh – and it is silly for people to think:,
    ‘But how would ‘Fernando’ fit in? It is about
    a Revolution in Mexico!’.

    A writer with imagination would fit ‘Fernando’
    into a follow-up by using a Dream Sequence. It
    is called having an imagination – rather than
    thinking that everything has to be exactly
    predictable & safe in a Film.

    I see no trouble in people having success with
    a 2nd Film. Many great ABBA Songs were not used
    in the 1st Film, & if the Writer of the 1st Film
    can’t – or won’t – try to write a 2nd one – then,
    someone else should write it. (After all – she’s
    only a very ordinary writer!).

    After all – the 1st writer – Catherine Johnson
    – does not actually own the ABBA Songs! She
    could not even write ‘Mamma Mia!’ without basing
    it on a 1968 Film! (Many have seen the resemblances
    between what she came up with & ‘Buona Sera,
    Mrs. Campbell’).

    Also – so what if a 2nd Film did come across
    as trying to ‘cash in’? What on Earth do you
    think all those ABBA ‘Hits’ Albums are, that
    we’ve had since the 1970’s?

    One may as well say that ALL ABBA connected
    releases – Films, CD’s, & DVD’s – are ‘Cashing
    In’, on ABBA’s popularity?

    Maybe those Fans who think a 2nd Film would
    ‘Look like a cash in’, should demand/ask that
    nothing by ABBA ever comes out again? After
    all, they are ALL only released to make money!

    I see no harm in a 2nd Film coming out for
    the same reason! (Which is why Queen have long
    said that they plan a follow-up Stage Musical
    to ‘We Will Rock You’, one day. They want to
    cash in – because the 1st Queen Musical has been
    so big).

    Also, a 2nd Film would give Benny & Bjorn the
    chance to introduce great ABBA Album Tracks to
    Audiences – ‘Move On’, ‘As Good As New’, ‘Tiger’,
    etc.

    This idea that people will only like an ABBA
    Musical if they already know the Songs is insane!
    One wonders how ABBA managed to sell Millions
    of Studio Albums, then. After all – only the
    Singles on them were known to the people who bought
    those Albums! But people still bought them – by
    the Million.

    Just as they will enjoy less well known ABBA Songs
    in a 2nd Film. After all – many of those Songs would
    have been Global Hits, had they been Singles.

    I wish some Fans would relax about a 2nd Film.
    If we DON’T get one, then that is fine. If we DO,
    then it WILL be huge. Maybe not as huge as ‘Mamma
    Mia!’ – but huge, anyhow. It would also start yet
    another ‘ABBA Revival’ – always great to see…..

    So – roll on a 2nd Film, I say! (In 3 to 5
    Years time – IF one is ever made).

    Colin

  18. I’ve seen this movie for more than two months (more than 60 times). It was a great and impreseed film that I’ve ever seen. This movie apart from giving us the joyfulness and it also remended us to be postive to face our life. The song ‘Our last summer" quted that ‘Living for the day, worries far away’ really suitable for all of us because of sthe global economic crisis nowadays. We must be strong and positve to encouter difficulties that lies ahead. Always be optimistic, face it, solve it and relax.
    Just be happy, don’t worry. All ctitical situations will be settled. Like Amanda sang, I have a dream, a song to sing, to help me cope, with anything…. very encoraging.
    Thanks to unverisal pictures to make this film. The actors and actress really performed fantastically.
    Note: there were so many of the superfans watched this movie for more 6th or even more… as far as it was reported by those fans sitting in the theatre for multi-viewing.
    It’s really a good sharing fun together at hte moment.

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