In this day and age, once-successful television and film franchises can never be left alone—and HBO is determined to ensure its iconic The Sopranos never dies, even if it means curb stomping its legacy.
Despite The Many Saints Of Newark’s dismal box office performance (it had a $4.6 million opening) and generally being panned by critics and longtime Sopranos fans, HBO apparently ended up getting what it wanted anyway. The film led to more streaming of the original series, giving it a “new life” over 20 years after its premiere.
“We’re thrilled with the results of Many Saints,” Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff tells Deadline. “Yes, the box office was not quite as big, but back again to the demographics of who’s going to theaters. On the other hand, you see Sopranos pop into the top 10 of the most viewed series on the service. It’s given it an entirely new life.”
Thanks to the boost from the Tony Soprano origin story, what was originally planned as a sequel to the prequel now may become an entire series.
This comes just as creator David Chase signs a “massive,” five-year deal with Warner Media, which covers film and TV across HBO, HBO Max, and Warner Bros. Pictures Group.
“We’re talking to David about a new series Sopranos-related on HBO Max,” [Many Saints] literally lifted the Sopranos franchise in a new way, so you can’t measure it in and of itself in the box office.”
That’s right, now you can’t only use box office numbers and reviews as a measure of success—you now also have to consider how many viewers the film brought to the production company’s streaming app.
Nonetheless, when Chase discussed a possible sequel to Many Saints back in September, he said a story about Tony in his 20s could be a new timeline to explore.
“That would be interesting to do, and there’s a lot of stories that exist already because of the mythology, and working with Terry would be great. He and I in that world again, I think we’d have a good time,” Chase told Deadline. “I wouldn’t do it on my own, and I would not do it with anybody else. If Warners wanted it, they own it, they can do whatever they want.”
This idea also aligns with what Many Saints star Michael Gandolfini (son of the late James Gandolfini) said about his possible involvement in furthering Tony’s storyline.
“I am not so much interested in playing 30-year-old Tony,” Gandolfini said. “I think if there’s an interesting part after this movie, before the show, that we can explore something about Tony that hasn’t been explored, in his youth, in his 20s. After that, we’re getting a little too old.”
The dominoes are certainly falling in the right places. By the end of this we may have projects that cover every stage of Tony Soprano’s life.