What do we want for the sequel to Nicole Kidman’s iconic AMC ad?

Evan Ross Katz is In The Know’s pop culture contributor. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram for more.

The Declaration of Independence. The moon landing. The fall of the Berlin wall. Nicole Kidman’s AMC ad. The date was September 8, 2021. How could we know the world would change forever? And had we known, what would we have done to prepare? On that day, outfitted in a gray pinstripe Michael Kors suit, Academy Award-winning actress and “Say Something” songstress Nicole Kidman removed her cloak and entered a dark and empty AMC cineplex, uttering a monologue written by Hunger Games scribe Billy Ray that’s come to be known as the AMC pledge of allegiance.

“We come to this place for magic. We come to AMC Theaters to laugh, to cry, to care. Because we need that. All of us. That indescribable feeling we get when the lights begin to dim and we go somewhere we’ve never been before. Not just entered, but somehow reborn. Together. Dazzling images on a huge silver screen. Sound that I can feel. Somehow, heartbreak feels good in a place like this. Our heroes feel like the best part of us and stories feel perfect and powerful because here… they are. AMC Theaters. We make movies better.”

It’s inspired T-shirts, become meme canon and been memorialized in a Saturday Night Live parody. No one, least of all Kidman (“I can’t tell you why it worked or why it’s gone viral”), has any idea why it’s stuck, and yet, over a year later, the ad has proven to have a bizarre foothold on the culture. Kinda like Dakota Johnson’s “actually, no, that’s not the truth, Ellen” or Jamie Lee Curtis’s “trauwma,” some things just prove indefatigable. 

Naturally, AMC commissioned a sequel. “It’s already written,” Ray told Vanity Fair in August. Yet here we are, nearly three months later, waiting patiently for what we can only hope to be a sequel more The Undoing than Big Little Lies Season 2 in terms of quality. Questions remain: When is the ad dropping? Have they filmed it? Are we getting a first look? A trailer? We need, nay, demand answers.

Until then, we can delight in imagining what this sequel could bring. Do we bring back the pantsuit as a nod to the original, or do we want Nic going full-hog into her Balenciaga era? Do we want a co-star? What about reuniting her with Practical Magic onscreen sister Sandra Bullock? Nikki thinks she’s all alone in the place she comes for magic when suddenly she realizes Sandy is across the blinding lights of the projector? Or perhaps her To Die For co-star Joaquin Phoenix? Or maybe we reunite the entire cast of The Paperboy? Just me on that one? Okay, fine.

Isaac Mizrahi, prolific fashion designer: “Maybe Nicole can’t resist and starts texting during the movie and by chance, Patti LuPone is sitting behind her and getting more and more irate by the second and finally she explodes and it goes viral. Thoughts?”

Blythe Marks, vintage dealer: “If we don’t get a recreation of the iconic opera scene from 2004’s Birth, the girls and gays will riot. Nicole’s startled neck twitch alone is the perfect PSA for how it feels when Just Some Guy interrupts that indescribable feeling we get when the lights begin to dim. In an era of cash-grab remakes and lazy IP plundering, this is an absolute shot-for-shot necessity. No notes!” 

Jordan Firstman, actor and writer: “I think in part two, Nicole will do a 4D movie experience where the seats shake vigorously and they spray things at you. She will realize the film industry is being bought up by media conglomerates who want to sanitize art to make every movie palatable for any audience. She will discover that there are still cool boundary-pushing things happening in music, and go to SZA’s house and steal her hard drives and release her sophomore album.” 

Jeffery Self, actor and writer: “Why does it have to be just an ad? More people are talking about that last one than most of the movies I saw last year. Give me a full feature film where our goddess is clad in that Michael Kors superhero suit stepping into every film genre that exists for a bare minimum of eight and a half hours, and then we all go home without having to see the movie we bought tickets to. Then I’ll be satisfied, Nikki.” 

Max Berlinger, writer: “Well this, to me, is one of those impossible assignments where one is tasked with making lightning strike twice. The joy of the original is that it was so unexpected and it existed within such a specific time for the public and its relationship to movie-going. I guess what I would want for another chapter is that it be as earnest and sincere as the original. Because I think that’s the best part of the first one — it’s a bit cringe, but it’s also a bunch of movie lovers who want to remind us of the magic of movies in the most honest, self-serious way possible. That being said, I hope there are some strange, surreal flourishes like in the first one — the silvery suit, the empty theater. I hope there are moments that are like, ‘Why the f*** did they make that choice?’ Anyway, I am thrilled to see it, and I know that Nicole will continue to give us the cinematic gravitas required.” 

So there you have it, a slew of wants bordering on needs, and yet we remain without any concrete knowledge of what this highly anticipated sequel will bring us. One thing is certain: Heartbreak will undoubtedly keep feeling good in a place like this.

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