Film Analysis: Movie Sequels

Film Analysis: Movie Sequels

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The highest grossing films for nine of the last ten years were movie sequels. Movie sequels have been around as far back as 1916’s “Fall of a Nation” and as recent as this years, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”. Though some critics have successfully argued against the need and quality of movie sequels, they have outranked some of the best original and standalone films in movie lists; with the top sequel contenders being “The Godfather: Part II”, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and 2008’s most anticipated film, “The Dark Knight”.

“The Dark Knight”, the follow up to “Batman Begins”, the successful remake of the Batman series, at the time of its release broke the single/opening day ticket sales record with $67.2 million dollars. It is also, per the movie website IMDB, currently sitting at the #4 spot of the highest grossing film in the United States of America with its successor “The Dark Knight Rises” comfortable at #7. When two sequels of the same franchise are in the top ten list of the highest grossing films, it gives cause to think twice on why sequels are out grossing original stories.

The name alone of the movie is not reason enough for an automatic prerequisite to view the film. The plot, character, the actors and marketing are also responsible for this desire. For example, the first 40 seconds of the December 2007 official trailer of Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” gave its audience all they needed to hear and feel to get them rushing to the theatres, midnight of July 18, 2008. These first seconds contained the prophetic seventeen words, “You’ve changed things…forever. There’s no going back. See to them, you’re just a freak…like me!” which followed by a goose bump producing maniacal laugh, invites the audience to a psychotic journey with the archenemy of Batman. The Joker quote “Why so serious?” noted in the movie trailer and posters were displayed in movie theatres, social media profiles, city streets and fans attires. These words were just a sample of the media frenzy this sequel evoked. Critics and fans alike have acknowledged the cinematic success of this movie with Heath Ledger, the late actor who portrayed the Joker, earning a posthumous Academy Award for his work.

Movie sequels are not normally dark dramatic stories, they are the comedic action packed movies like “Iron Man 2”, “The Fast and The Furious 6”, “Shrek 2” or “Men in Black III”.

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They keep it light so as to keep the audience interested. Hollywood understands the movie audience, they release movies whose stories are familiar to the audience from comic books, literature or bestselling novels. Based on the success of the original move from these literature origins, they sometimes split one of the books into two movies like “Hunger Game: Mockingjay Part I” or “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 & 2”

Sequels provide the production studios time to enhance the plot line, develop its characters and allow the audience the opportunity to truly immerse themselves in the story. However, the greedy studio execs in Hollywood are not to blame for this sequel epidemic. Moviegoers worldwide have bought $1,004.6 billion worth of tickets for “The Dark Knight” and $1,518.6 billion for “Marvel’s The Avengers”.

It is hard to come out with an original movie script with millions of movies already made that Hollywood tends to stick to what is safe, what they know would sell from experience.

With at least 26 movie sequels out or slated to be out in 2014, it is safe to say that movie sequels are not only here to stay, but quite possibly better than original scripts. ”The Godfather: Part II”, “The Dark Knight” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” are prime examples of why movie sequels are going nowhere.

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