Emma Thompson wrote a script for a third Nanny McPhee movie, but it remains destined never to be made.
Whilst Mary Poppins Returns has gone on to do solid, if perhaps not great, business at the box office over the past few months, it can’t help but bring to mind the Nanny McPhee films. In the absence of Poppins, Emma Thompson headlined two Nanny McPhee films based on the novels by Christianna Brand.
Thompson penned the screenplays for 2005’s Nanny McPhee, as well as its follow-up, Nanny McPhee And The Big Bang. And plans were afoot for a third movie, too, which Thompson duly got on with scriptwriting for.
Unfortunately, it was in vain. The box office for the second movie fell a little below that of the first, and that pretty much immediately led to the plug being pulled on a third film. As Thompson recalled, she got a call during the film’s opening weekend in the US, just as she was set to leave New York to come home to the UK. “The box office is not as good as we wanted it to be”, she was told.
“We projected it would take $14m. It only took $9.7m”.
Thompson replied “Gosh, $9.7 million, that seems like quite a lot of money really. Anyway, you seem to be suicidal”. She realised then that a third film wasn’t happening.
She confirmed more recently, in an interview with Chris Evans for the BBC back in 2018, that it’ll almost certainly never happen.
“I did write it, but I set it in space”, Thompson said. “They said it was too expensive to make … they said the second didn’t make enough money to warrant making a third one”.
She didn’t totally close the door, but Thompson is still involved with the character. She’s writing a Nanny McPhee stage musical, with Gary Clark doing the score for it. When that’s ready, she’ll direct the musical as well, but it’s still some way off.
Who knows? If the musical becomes an enormous hit, there may yet be room for a Nanny McPhee 3. But it looks a very long shot…