Austin Powers 4 Officially in the Works?

Late last week, news began to break on the web that Mike Myers had officially signed on to reprise his iconic role as Austin Powers, in what would be the fourth film in the franchise. Hitflix was the first site to report it, and the rumor went on to spread like wildfire.

In their natural form, Deadline went on to dismiss this as just a rumor, and that no deal was actually in place.

All of this begs the question: what's really going on with the Austin Powers series?

It's been nearly ten years since Myers donned the legendary wig and glasses as the James Bond-spoofing Powers in "Austin Powers in Goldmember", and nearly fifteen years since "International Man of Mystery" set the franchise ablaze. The film took in only a modest $67.6M at the box office, but it was incredibly profitable, with only a $16.5M budget, so it spawned two sequels. "The Spy Who Shagged Me" took in $310M on a $33M budget, and Goldmember made nearly $300M at the box office on a $65M budget. This, of course, doesn't include DVD sales, merchandise sales, and everything else spawned by the classic comedies.

Moreover, while the films decreased in quality as they went on, it really wasn't to the point where the films weren't watchable anymore. Myers kept creating characters and coming up with new gags, while returning to previous gags that worked in the other films. And after three films, it seemed as if he knew when to call it quits.

But as we said, it's been nearly ten years since Austin Powers and all the other Myers characters donned the screen. Myers found success thereafter with the Shrek series, which likely kept him busy. But four Shrek movies have dug that franchise into the ground, and other than a cameo in Inglorious Basterds in 2009, the only noteworthy thing that Myers has done is "The Love Guru", and we'd rather not talk about that.

Myers has a few projects coming up, and he will never have trouble finding work as a voice actor or as a character actor, but nearing 50-years-old, it's about time for the Canadian actor to cash in. There's no doubt that he's made millions-upon-millions of dollars with the incredibly profitable Austin Powers series, but this could no doubt be his last shot to revive it.

So it makes sense for him to reprise his role ( s ), even after a decade. The only real problem might be the money. Hollywood isn't exactly running away with profits these days, and another Austin Powers movie could be expensive, even if they stick with the general campiness that made it such a hit in the late nineties. Myers is likely asking for a lot of money, and that could be holding the producers back. After all, even if the Austin Powers films have been incredibly profitable, there's no telling how a 2012-13 crowd would react to a fourth film in the franchise, especially considering that none of the three films were really a huge critical success. Not to mention that it seems as if the series' director, Jay Roach, has seemingly lost a lot of credibility these last few years.

Not to mention that everyone who'd return to the franchise would be ten years older. Myers, as stated, is nearly fifty. Michael York is 70, Robert Wagner is 81, and even if they go with Rob Lowe as number 2, he's nearing 50 as well. There's no doubt that an Austin Powers cast would be laced with younger actors, but it's interesting to think about what kind of dynamic this would create.

Needless to say, despite the proven track record of the franchise, a fourth Austin Powers film, with Mike Myers at the helm both on and off screen, could in fact be a pretty big risk for New Line. But, just like the three films before it, it could also be a huge surprise, proving all the naysayers wrong.

That said, Austin Powers is of course a spoof on James Bond, and there's no shortage of material there. There have been 3 bond films since Goldmember, with a fourth on the way next year, and it's highly doubtful Myers has dried the well on nearly fifty years of material. So there's lots that can still be done, and plenty of costumes left for Myers to still put on.

And despite all the negative things I've said about a potential fourth film, I actually am a big fan of the series, and this has kinda put me in the mood to pop in the old Austin Powers DVDs. It's also gotten me thinking on a couple of fun titles for the fourth film:

  • You Only Shag Twice
  • Live and Let's Shag
  • One I saw on a forum: "The Third Was Not Enough"
  • Shag Another Day
  • License to Shag
  • Octopussy (come on, you all saw that coming)

Really, anything with shag.

The ball's in Mike Myers court, but the clock on the franchise is definitely ticking.

Would you like to see a fourth Austin Powers film, 10 years after "Goldmember"? Let us know in the comments below!