Fulfilling its destiny as the opening act of a multi-part movie franchise, The Maze Runner did well enough in its opening weekend to justify the continuation of the series, with sequel The Scorch Trials already slated to hit theaters September 18, 2015. The film shares its title with the second entry in the James Dashner YA trilogy that spawned the first film, so if The Scorch Trials does well at the box office next year, audiences can presumably expect to see The Death Cure—Part 1 sometime in September of 2016.
The Maze Runner film clearly telegraphed this next entry, ending with a signoff our Tasha Robinson described as “not so much a cliffhanger as the kind of clumsy ‘Tune in for the next movie!’ setup that’s become standard since Peter Jackson established the language for modern serial-film endings.” But just because a movie is conceived as a franchise doesn’t necessarily mean it will achieve Hunger Games or Twilight-level cinematic domination, as evidenced by the scuttled Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones sequel. The fact that The Maze Runner operated with a relatively tiny $30 million budget that it was able to make back in its first week of domestic release certainly helped its case for continuation. (The film has already made more than double that internationally, so, yeah, this was inevitable.)
Now that the sequel bell has officially been rung, Fox is booting up the hype machine, realeasing the first “concept art” for The Scorch Trials (seen above). Expect the rest of the film to trickle out, frame by frame, between now and next September.