The summer of sequels

As the National Public Radio hosts, CNN correspondents, and New York Times writers called it, this summer was often referred to as the “summer of sequels.” Beginning with Iron Man 2 and Sex in the City 2, it seemed as if hardly any original movies came out this summer.

Though, for an unfinished series, such as the Harry Potter or Twilight series, sequels are obviously necessary to conclude the story line.

According to the Box Office’s Top All Time Domestic Grossing Movies, 22 of the top fifty highest grossing movies of all time are sequels, showing people cannot resist seeing continuations of their old favorites.  Arguably the best in the series, Toy Story 3 was a major blockbuster this past summer. Since a Toy Story film had not been made since the 1990’s, many kids and parents wanted to see how their beloved characters had matured. But, other movies, though box office hits, did not fare such good reviews. Shrek Forever After, the fourth in the series, came out only three years later after the mixed reviewed Shrek 3, not giving the audience time to miss the series.

It is generally agreed that remakes of older movies should adapt the plot in a new exciting manner more suitable for the time. A remake of the 1980’s classic Karate Kid came out this past May, but instead of being based in America, the setting was in China. Horror movies have surprisingly had a myriad of remakes including The Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the Thirteenth  because they already had a market with die-hard fans. However, New York Times’ movie critic, Manohla Dargis reflects the view of much of the public, writing that remakes do not “much improve on the original.”

Despite the public’s belief, Hollywood screenwriters have no lack of talent. Around fifty thousand films are registered with the Writers Guild of America, yet are not funded for because of the risk involved with investing in a new movie.  Quite simply, sequels and remakes guarantee instant revenue.