Now You See Me 3's Reimagining Likely Means Losing The Franchise's Original Appeal


Now You See Me 3’s Reimagining Likely Means Losing The Franchise’s Original Appeal

Lionsgate seems to be going for a “reimagined” approach to Now You See Me 3, but such a shift could cause the franchise to lose its original appeal.


  • Now You See Me 3‘s reimagined approach risks losing the franchise’s primary appeal of intricate tricks and illusions.
  • Director Ruben Fleischer, known for action-oriented movies like Venom and Zombieland, is taking over as director of the sequel.
  • While Fleischer’s history with successful franchises is promising, an action-heavy focus could deviate from the magic, misdirection, and mystery that fans of the franchise appreciate.



While the Now You See Me franchise has been quiet, Now You See Me 3‘s update about a reimagined approach could risk losing the series’ original appeal. Now You See Me premiered in 2013, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine. For Now You See Me 2 in 2016, all the aforementioned cast members apart from Fisher returned. Lizzy Caplan, Daniel Radcliffe, and others joined the lineup. Lionsgate has also teased the Now You See Me 3 director’s “reimagined” take and a filming timeline that begins in spring 2024.

Now You See Me made around $351 million worldwide, and Now You See Me 2 brought in $334 million worldwide — both significantly surpassing their budgets (via Box Office Mojo). Despite their commercial success, Now You See Me 3 has been in development for years. In this time, the writer has changed from Eric Warren Singer (Top Gun: Maverick) to Seth Grahame-Smith (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), and the director has changed from Jon M. Chu (Now You See Me 2) to Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland). With these shifts comes a new vision for the sequel — though it could risk ruining what made the first two films great.

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Now You See Me 3’s Director Indicates The Franchise Will Become More Action-Oriented

Now You See Me and Now You See Me 2 focus on elaborate illusions and intricate tricks. However, Now You See Me 3 director Fleischer is known for movies like Venom, Zombieland, and Uncharted. His projects are often action-oriented, featuring RV gunfights, intense ship-hopping, and dynamic fights. As such, his involvement indicates that the next Now You See Me could feature more action.

However, Fleischer did tell Variety that he appreciates the mystery setup of Now You See Me and Now You See Me 2. The director admitted, I love getting drawn in by the twists and the mystery where nothing is what it seems. And that’s even more true when the thieves are magicians the opportunities are endless.” This suggests some desire to play with the franchise’s existing qualities, despite his knack for action.

Fleischer’s history with successful franchises, despite being predominantly action-focused, is what attracts Lionsgate to the director. Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Chair Joe Drake shared with Comicbook that Fleischer is “an absolute mastermind at shepherding franchises.” Presumably, this decision is a way to reinvent the franchise after seven years. Whether Now You See Me 3‘s confirmation means leaning into Fleischer’s successful handling of action or his intrigue with the twists of heist films remains to be seen.

Now You See Me Becoming An Action Franchise Would Ruin The Series

Woody Harrelson As Merritt holding up his hands in Now You See Me 2

While the director change can help “shepherd” the franchise after multiple years of stagnancy, an action focus could take away from what makes the franchise so appealing in the first place. Not only do the first and second movies not rely on heavy action to carry the story forward, but they also lean into magic, misdirection, and mystery, big pulls for fans of the franchise. More action could limit the pacing and time needed to make those cinematic scenes showing the Horsemen pulling off elaborate tricks, such as the hidden card heist scene in Now You See Me 2.

Since Lionsgate has also confirmed the third installment will be a “reimagining” of the previous two films, it’s possible that it will lean into the action genre fully. If this is the case, the magic of the previous films could be lost to spectacle and high-caliber action sequences. This could shove the intriguing parts of the franchise into the background, essentially equating it with action heist movies more so than a crime thriller. Now You See Me 3 should avoid leaning into too much of an action-heavy take and marry Fleischer’s usual style with compelling magic.

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Source: Box Office Mojo, Variety, Comicbook

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