The old adage is “familiarity breeds contempt,” but when it comes to Hollywood, the opposite has been true. Sequels, prequels, reboots and related films have become studios’ most bankable assets. Though critics have lamented the boom as a sign of the industry’s creative stagnation, audiences have flocked to familiar, reliable franchise films.
In 2011, nine of the top 10 grossing films were sequels. In 2012, sequels or prequels, like The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit, made up seven of the Top 10. This year the trend continues with a reported record number of sequels on the way, including Iron Man 3, The Hangover 3, Fast & Furious 6 and many more.
Why so many sequels? Follow the money. If franchises like Pirates of the Carib- bean, The Hangover, Fast & Furious and Transformers have taught us anything, it’s that even when the critics pan one of these heat-and-serve blockbusters, the money still rolls in. Often, in fact, the more entries in the series, the more prof- itable the franchise gets. And after recent big-budget one-off flops like John Carter and Battleship, studios are engaged in a flight to safety, preferring sequels with built-in audiences, measurable track records and predictable revenues. Just look at the box-office totals for these major franchises: critics occasionally groan, but they get two thumbs up from the accounting department.
Check out the reboot trailers opening this summer.
BACK FOR SECONDS IN 2013:
- Star Trek Into Darkness (May)
- Monsters University (June)
- The Smurfs 2 (July)
- 300: Rise of an Empire (Aug.)
- Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2: Revenge of the Leftovers (Sept.)
- Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (Oct.)
- The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Nov.)
- Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Dec.)