Free Guy was another hit for Ryan Reynolds in 2021, earning $331m at the box office on a budget of $100m, during the pandemic no less.
It tells the story of a mild-mannered bank teller who discovers he is a non-playable character in a massively multiplayer online game.
The critical and financial success meant that a sequel seemed almost inevitable, but director Shawn Levy believes that the success of Barbie has halted plans as that movie made over $1bn at the box office with a similar premise - a character in a different world who comes self-aware.
"I think it is definitely not assured. We love Free Guy and the love for Free Guy that has kind of resonated in aftershocks, if you will, in the last couple of years," he said this week.
"That's been thrilling to Ryan and I. We are developing a sequel, but the truth is that you now have Barbie that has obviously left a mark about a character in a fictional world who comes to self-awareness.
"So, we're only gonna make Free Guy 2 if it's different than the first movie and if it's different from other movies."
Barbie is officially the most successful movie ever with a solo female director at the helm, with box office returns of $1.4bn.
Ryan Reynolds casts doubt on a Free Guy sequel
Reynolds himself previously cast doubt on a sequel, too, saying not every successful movie requires a franchise.
"There is the potential to do a sequel to Free Guy, which would be fun. I would love it. But also like, does everything fucking have to be a sequel? I don’t know," he admitted.
"Sometimes it’s OK to just do a movie and have it kick ass and then everyone go home.
"So you know, there’s a bit of a push and pull there, resisting the urge to just immediately say, ‘Ohh, doing a sequel will validate the first one’. No, the first movie validates the first one and then you can leave it at that. So I don’t know, we’re still talking about it."
Reynolds and Levy are currently working on Deadpool 3, though production is currently suspended due to the ongoing actor and writer strikes.