Ethan Hawke

Ethan Hawke

A sequel to Ethan Hawke's new thriller The Purge is in development after becoming a surprise hit at the U.S. box office.

The movie, set in a future where all crimes are legalised for a 12-hour period, scared up a storm last weekend (08-09Jun13) when it debuted at number one with takings of $34 million (£21.9 million), easily recouping its modest $3 million (£1.9 million) production budget.

Executives at Universal Studios, the company behind The Purge, are now pressing ahead with a follow-up and are hoping to get the project up and running in California by the end of the year (13) to take advantage of a $2.25 million (£1.45 million) tax break, reports trade paper Variety.

It is not yet known if director James DeMonaco, who wrote and directed The Purge, will return for its sequel, or if Hawke and his co-star, Game of Thrones actress Lena Headey, will join the project too.

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