*Deep Sighs* Another day, another movie sequel announced.
According to the Entertainment Weekly, director Andrew Stanton has announced plans to release a sequel to the 2003 smash Disney/Pixar animated film Finding Nemo, having already chosen a producer and screenwriter for the project.
The original film, the heartwarming story of a father clown fish traveling the Great Barrier Reef in search of his son abducted by a big scary man with a snorkel became a worldwide hit, grossing over $800 million in the box office and winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Picture and added to the Disney/Pixar reign that just won’t let up.
At the ending of the film after Marlin finds Nemo and returns home, you got that “Well this story has a happy ending, it’s a done deal” feeling, but as the credits rolled, you were hit with the “Oh wait. This is a critically acclaimed and successful DISNEY film. There will be an inevitable sequel in the coming years” thought if you kept in mind pattern of recent Hollywood films.
It feels like Hollywood is running out of film ideas these days, and among all of the (usually sub-par) classic movie remakes and TV shows or Broadway plays being made into films, an original idea will come along, be made into a film, and become a huge success. Then what happens? A sequel is announced in an attempt to milk that film for all it is worth. It is so predictable now that you can basically count on an additional movie being made for any film that makes more that $50 million in the box office or for a movie idea that producers know from the jump will be a cash cow. Example: Captain America and The Avengers sequels were already in talks before the movies were even released because of a huge multi-picture deal made since film versions of classic comics usually bring in the big bucks.
Sequels are so common now that in 2011, a record 27 sequels to films were released, an all time high. The problem with sequels are their hit or miss risk. An addition to a movie can either build upon the film franchises legacy or put a minor (sometimes HUGE) dent in it, especially with films that weren’t made to have sequels originally.
Perfect example. Grease was released in 1978. The film version of the Broadway musical was a commercial success and critically acclaimed. It remains popular ever with a new generation, so much so that you can almost always guarantee for it to trend on Twitter every time is airs on VH1. What happened after its initial success? Paramount released Grease 2 in 1982, that’s what. This movie was plagued with problems. For oneall of the seniors (except Frenchie) were set to graduate at the end of the first musical, so why go on? And since all of the seniors graduated, none of the original cast returned for the sequel (except Frenchie.) It’s always a bad sign when an additional movie installment fails to keep its stars on board. To top it all off the script just wasn’t good, and Grease 2 was panned by critics and underperformed in ticket sales upon its release.
There are many movies that were meant to have more than one installment. Christopher Nolan’s Batman was meant to be a trilogy with The Dark Knight being better than Batman Begins. Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill ended up being so long that the film had to be cut into two volumes. Movies based on a series of novels like Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games, and the up-and-coming 50 Shades of Grey continue on until the books series ends, as long as the previous film performs well.
But surprise hits like The Hangover take a chance when wanting to capitalize on the success of one film with more movies. Fans and critics of
the first film were not as welcoming to The Hangover 2. The Matrix was acclaimed, The Matrix Reloaded was so-so, while The Matrix Revolutions was just a let down. Barbershop became an unexpected sensation, while we really could have done without Barbershop 2: Back in Business. Remember when most of the sequels in Disney’s “Renaissance Era” (The Little Mermaid, Beauty & The Beast, The Lion King) were sent straight to VHS without a theatrical release in the 90s/early 00s? Exactly.
Don’t get me wrong, some movies have surprisingly great additions. Toy Story 3 was amazing (almost brought me to tears.) X2: X-Men United is often said to be better that the first X-Men film released. But for every Bourne Supremacy & Ultimatum, Spiderman II and Godfather II you have a Bluesbrothers 2000, a Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights and a Godfather III.
As we sit and wait for the upcoming sequels to Monsters, Inc, Anchorman, The Bourne Saga, Taken (they’re really going to kidnap Liam Neeson’s daughter twice though?), and The Hangover (again) all we can do is hope for a top-notch installment, but brace ourselves if it is the complete opposite.
And why would paranoid Marlin lose Nemo again anyway?