The Business of Being Jack: Why '24' Finale Isn't the End for the Franchise

Jack Bauer's rugged bad-ass persona sustained eight days of hell over the course of eight television seasons in the popular television series 24. Now that the show has aired its final season finale, Bauer -- played by Keifer Sutherland -- can finally take a breather. But, as industry watchers and fans alike speculate, the two fateful hours that closed Day 8 were the beginning, not the end of the 24 franchise -- and its steady stream of revenue.

When the credits rolled on last night's episode, cash registers across America started ringing. Toy makers, retailers and others began trying to cash in on the finale-fever inspired buzz. Currently on Ebay, (EBAY) there are over 1,660 24 items for sale: everything from "Jack Bauer forever" wristbands priced from $3.50 to overpriced action figures selling for as much as $145. Electronics giant Best Buy (BBY) slashed prices on DVDs of individual seasons of 24 offering discounts of 10% to 40% for each season. And, on Amazon, shoppers are filling their carts with books, posters and just about anything "Jack".

Will Day 9 Be Spent on the Silver Screen?

So while Jack may have headed off into exile on Monday night, it's hard to believe that his creators will let him stay there for long. In fact, it would not be surprising if Jack ends up traveling a road previously tread upon by dozens of pairs of Manolo Blahniks in the past: the silver screen. Few TV series have attempted what Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha of Sex and the City have accomplished in movie theaters. But, then again, very few TV characters have the chutzpa of Jack Bauer.

Rumors of a 24 movie have swirled around Hollywood for years. In 2006, Sutherland told MTV a script was in development. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly's web site EW.com, 24 exec producer Howard Gordon confirmed that he'll be one of the producers on the movie project and that there is already a script for the dramatic thriller. If Hollywood insiders are correct, that script was penned by "State of Play" writer Billy Ray.

According to IMDB, the first season of 24 had modest budget of $35 million. Industry insiders speculate the blockbuster-hopeful will have a budget of up to ten times that. Although the movie's plot has yet to be leaked, insiders are reassuring fans the movie will not be a prequel. Because the current script was based on a pitch made before last night's finale, Gordon told EW "The movie has to defer to the end of the TV show, not the other way around." So look for last night's episode to be a factor when Jack comes back on the big screen.

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