Revenge of the Sequels

It seems like every year somebody in the Hollywood press and beyond (see here, here, over there, in here, and why not there) derides the film industry for a lack of originality.  Bemoaning the lack of new and creative ideas able to get more than couch cushion financing for a film based upon an original idea, they mourn the end of Hollywood as we know it.

Lack of originality takes its shape in many forms: literary adaptations, television show adaptations, and of course the end all be all of brand extensions – the sequel.  Well if 2011 is any indication, let the gnashing of teeth continue because this year will see a record number of sequels on the silver screen.  Thanks to /Film we can tally up the damage:

Here’s how it breaks it down. 27 sequels total. Nine second movies (up from eight in 2010), five third movies (down from seven), five fourth movies, five fifth movies, two seventh movies and one eighth movie. 9+5+5+5+2+1=27.

The second movies are Cars 2, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules, The Hangover Part II, Happy Feet 2, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, Johnny English Reborn, Kung Fu Panda 2, Piranha 3DD and Sherlock Holmes: The Book of Shadows.

The third movies are Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, Madea’s Big Happy Family, Paranormal Activity 3 and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

The fourth movies are Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Scream 4, Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the Worldand The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (Part One).

The fifth movies are Fast Five, Final Destination 5, Puss in Boots, X-Men: First Class and Winnie the Pooh.

The seventh movies are The Muppets and Rise of the Apes.

And the eighth movie is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two.

And I know for a fact that a few got left off of the list…A Very Harold And Kumar Christmas anyone?

For the record I am not opposed to sequels on principle, just that when there’s no longer a worthy story to tell, its time to hang ’em up, and yes I’m looking at you Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.  And besides it’s fundamentally what the mass market audience wants.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look at the top five grossing pictures domestically last year:

  1. Toy Story 3 – $415 million
  2. Alice in Wonderland – $334 million
  3. Iron Man 2 – $312 million
  4. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse – $301 million
  5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 – $294 million
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