Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Catsoulis on Sequels

Leave it to Jeanette Catsoulis to bring a fresh approach to the subject of stale sequels. Movie sequels have been around since the silent days, of course, and the 30's and 40's gave us popular series like The Thin Man, Blondie, and Dead End Kids. And let's not forget James Bond.

It's not called "show art" or "show originality;" it's called "show business," and that means that if there is money to be squeezed out of the public by showing them more of the same, Hollywood will provide, whether by establishing a franchise like "Rush Hour" or "American Pie" or following up a success like "Saw" with not only sequels but rip-offs ("Captivity," anyone?).

I think one of the differences between movie audiences and critics is that people who buy tickets are looking for a sure thing, and if they've seen and liked it before, that means their $11 investment (before popcorn) is low-risk.


Big Dave T said...

Good article. Thanks for the link. When I read your blog here, I tried to think of sequels that were better or at least as good as the original and I came up with Aliens and Godfather II like Catsoulis.

But I think you could list others too. Star Trek, Wrath of Khan; Austin Powers, the Spy that Shagged Me; Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back; Dawn of the Dead (heh, heh--my favorite) are a few that come to mind. Of course, these movies kept the relevant series going too.

I can't honestly think of a third movie in a series that was as much of a success. That's why I rarely if ever see anything past the first sequel.

Nell Minow said...

Sequels' greatest weakness is the same thing that gives them their appeal -- they cannot surprise us. And too often, the people who came up with the original creative ideas that captured our attention and affection move on to the next project leaving the second team to do the sequel.

"Star Wars" and "The Godfather" were always conceived aas multi-part. And "Star Trek" was already conceptualized as an ongoing, open-ended saga because it began as a television series. And I think in a very few cases, perhaps including "Dawn of the Dead" and "Aliens," the success of the first one earned the movie-makers the economic and artistic freedom to do what they really would like to have done the first time.

Big Dave T said...

Good points, though I would hate to get into a battle of semantics over what constitutes a sequel versus a serial.

Here are some other noteworthy sequels: Karate Kid II, Grumpier Old Men, Toy Story II and Mad Max II: The Road Warrior. And I did think of a couple movies that were third in a series that I kinda liked--Christmas Vacation and Rocky III with Hulk Hogan and Mr. T.

And what about High School Musical 2, which I hear is nearly as good as the original, and certainly just as popular? I would think the Movie Mom would be all over that one. Then maybe again, being a cable TV movie, it might be a little out of your realm. That's too bad. I would like for some pop culture icon to explain to me what the hype is about.

Nell Minow said...

Thanks, Big Dave. Perhaps someday I will do a separate post on the HSM phenomenon. I admit to finding them adorable.