If you were worried that The Purge franchise seemed to have reached a natural conclusion with Election Year, fear not. Prequels exist for just this scenario. And that is the direction the next installment in The Purge franchise will take with The First Purge. As its title implies, the fourth film will take audiences back to the very first purge night.
It shouldn’t be surprising that we’re getting another Purge film. To date, the franchise has been financially successful with each subsequent sequel improving slightly on the box office receipts of its predecessor. Released in 2013, The Purge made approximately $64 million off of a tiny $3 million budget. Three years later, The Purge: Election Year finished with just over $79 million on a slightly larger $10 million budget (Box Office Mojo, n.d.).
Set in a dystopian future where a totalitarian regime, The New Founding Fathers of America, have taken over the United States government, “the purge” was a 12-hour period where all crime was legal. Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey starred in The Purge, which was a much smaller scale home-invasion film. Each sequel broadened the world of the “Purge” and slowly shifted from more standard horror film conventions to action-based thrillers. In addition, each sequel has increased its social commentary, a trend that looks to continue with The First Purge.
The film’s first trailer promises the same haunting imagery and chaotic violence as the first three films. You can expect more variations on creepy masks, which has become the franchise’s trademark. While the trailers for Election Year made clear allusions to Trump’s MAGA-laced political campaign, the trailer for The First Purge appears to be doubling-down on its commentary.
Directed by Gerard McMurray and written by James DeMonaco, The First Purge’s trailer promises that the film will tackle the racial tensions in the United States head on. Specifically, several moments of the trailer suggest that this Purge will even more explicitly explore state-sanctioned violence and over-policing in marginalized communities through its fictional premise. It’s a controversial but also very interesting approach for a franchise to take in what is its fourth film. The political relevance of The First Purge may offset any franchise fatigue that could have set in.
The First Purge is scheduled for a release on July 4 this summer. Frank Grillo will sadly not be returning for this outing. Marisa Tomei and Lex Scott Davis take Grillo’s place as the film’s lead characters.