The following post was written by Caroline at Culture Coverage – thanks for the guest post!
There are a lots of opinions when it comes to movie sequels. Whether you love them, hate them or don’t mind them is irrelevant because sequels aren’t going away anytime soon. If you look at it objectively, you’ll find that most movie sequels help the industry. However, if you have ever watched a terrible sequel, then you know they can damage the industry as well.
The Money Made from Movie Sequels
The number one reason movie sequels will never stop being created is revenue. You know as well as I do that as long as something makes money, it will continue to be made. We may not be happy with this, but movie studios practically drool at the thought of raking in more dough. This is particularly the case if the people behind the movies are paying attention to the mind-blowing amounts of cash being grossed.
So far in 2016, six of the top highest grossing films are either sequels or re-imaginings. Two of the most noteworthy films on this list are superhero movies “Captain America: Civil War” and “X-Men: Apocalypse.” “Captain America: Civil War” made over an astonishing $400 million when it ran in theaters, and “X-Men Apocalypse” made over $155 million. Why did these two blockbusters do so well? It’s mainly because their fan bases are astronomical in size. How many friends do you have that are fans of either franchise? I would be surprised if the answer were zero. Whenever there is another sequel announced, no matter how bad it looks, dedicated fans will turn up to see it.
It doesn’t end at just superhero movies. “Kung Fu Panda 3” was another follow-up released in 2016, and it generated over $140 million. The first two installments of the franchise both did extremely well at the box office, so there was no doubt the third installment would do the same. Let’s take it a step further, though; the fourth highest grossing film of 2016 so far, with over $350 million, is “The Jungle Book,” which is a live adaptation of the original movie. Sure, this is not a true sequel, but it’s also not an original idea either.
The amount of money gained from sequels doesn’t stop at the theater though. Once blockbuster movies make their way to Netflix, even more cash is earned. If you have a VPN, you can pretty much watch anything on Netflix, anywhere. If the world continues to give movie studios a reason to fund sequels, they will keep on producing them.
The Damage Done to the Movie Industry
Money aside, the bottom line is sequels never seem to be better than the original. There are exceptions to this, as both “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” and “The Dark Knight” were better than their predecessors. However, most of the time the sequel to a movie will fall short of living up to the expectations set by the first installment. Try this: put together a list of your ten favorite films of all time. Then count the amount of movies that are either originals or standalone films. You may be different, but I bet most of them will not be sequels. So, why are sequels typically worse?
For one, the character development in original movies is usually better. This is a lot easier to do the first time because none of the characters are established. The issue is when a sequel is made, the audience is already familiar with most of the cast. This means the developers need to work even harder to further the character development. Many sequels, such as “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” have failed to create any new character development. The lack of character progression becomes most prominent when talking about the villain. Every movie needs a great villain, and this is another area where sequels typically struggle. Sticking with our examples of “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Dark Knight Rises”, you had the same villain from before, Agent Smith, and a villain that nobody could understand, Bane.
Finally, the main reason sequels tend to be worse than their predecessors is the story, most notably in horror movies. How many times have we seen Michael Myers kill someone in “Halloween”? Better yet, count the number of people Jigsaw has killed in one of his death-traps. Sequels are automatically doomed to fail if the producers behind them refuse to add innovation to the story. Hey, movie producers, we don’t want to watch the same plot over again!
But just because sequels are bad, do hey hurt the film industry? It’s worth pointing out that even some original movies are horrible (I mean, has anyone actually watched “Crank”? That was one of the worst movies I have ever seen, but it wasn’t a follow-up). The issue comes back to money because if an original movie is bad, it will probably not get a sequel, and the movie studios will just move on. However, even if a sequel is bad, it has a better chance to generate cash. As mentioned earlier, sequels already have a pre-established fan base whereas original movies don’t. This means that no matter how bad they are, sequels will never stop being made. In turn, unless they provide innovation, they will continue to damage the movie industry in their quality of content.
There are already a huge amount of blockbuster sequels that have been announced for the coming couple of years. “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “How to Train Your Dragon 3,” “Avatar 2” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man Tell No Tales” are a few of the most noteworthy sequels on the horizon.
Do you think that sequels are hurting or helping the movie industry? Maybe you’re someone who actually enjoys sequels more than the original! We would love to know, so please leave a comment below.
About the Author: Caroline is a freelance blogger and writer who is a movie enthusiast. She enjoys expressing her opinions about everything movie related.