There was an interesting article I read recently on the Huffington Post regarding film sequels that got me thinking about why there have been so many sequels or remakes in the past few years. Hollywood studios are always looking to build a franchise off these original or adapted ideas and there is clearly one obvious reason—money, of course—but rarely can a remake or sequel provide or prove to be superior then the original film. Hollywood studios have become more clever regarding how to sell something bad or stale in order to bring in an audience—but more on that later.
I usually ignore most remake or sequel news coming out of Hollywood or various film blogs and/or websites, but last week, I heard the news that the 2000 film American Psycho was being remade. I basically threw my arms into the air and asked why? Whether you’ve seen American Psycho starring Christian Bale (pre-Batman) or not is not really the issue; why on earth do you want to remake a film that is roughly 11 years old, based on a novel published by Bret Easton Ellis in 1991? And adding insult to injury, American Psycho spawned a worthless sequel (American Psycho II: All American Girl, above) that went direct to video in 2002, starring Mila Kunis and William Shatner, that had nothing linking it back to Ellis’ original story, if I recall, other than I’m sure somebody thought it would be a good idea to do this with a female serial killer rather than a man.
So that got me thinking even more, and more than usual, about how many remakes or sequels came out in U.S. theaters in 2011. Apparently, there were 28 films that were either a remake or a sequel that was released in 2011. Another note to add is some of our highest-grossing films this year have been sequels: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, The Hangover Part II, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tide, Fast Five, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, and Cars 2. The only movie that came close to these high-grossing films of 2011 that wasn’t a sequel was Bridesmaids, which I’m sure has already been green-lighted for a sequel if co-writer and lead actress Kristen Wiig wants to do another one, since the film grossed close to $170 million. My question would be, how could you make a sequel out of Bridesmaids? Maya Rudolph’s character got married, so unless you did the story surrounding one of the other bridesmaids or if you told Wiig’s story, it wouldn’t work right.
It would be unfair of me to say that I dislike all remakes and sequels. I’ve enjoyed the Harry Potter films—maybe not the first two films, but after those two, I felt the films got more complex and dark as author J. K. Rowling spun an incredible idea and turned her magical creation into a worldwide phenomenon and it got kids interested in not only the story but in reading books again. I’ve also enjoyed the new revamped Christopher-Nolan-led Batman saga, with the highly anticipated final act coming out this summer. The Dark Knight Rises could be the film I’m looking forward to the most (at the moment) in 2012 and will probably be in the top ten biggest box office successes of the year.
Here’s the kicker though. There are three films being released this Friday that are sequels: Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. While I’m really only interested in seeing the new Sherlock Holmes sequel (due to being a fan of Sherlock Holmes stories since middle school), the biggest draw this weekend could be seeing Mission Impossible—though not to actually see Mission Impossible. MI’s distributor Warner Brothers is attaching the first six-to-eight-minute prologue of The Dark Knight Rises to certain IMAX prints this weekend, and the only theater in the state that will have this prologue is at the IMAX theater at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley.
So if you can’t wait until July 20, 2012 to see the first few minutes of the new Batman film, you probably have plans to see it this weekend—though you might have to endure another pointless spy flick to get your Batman fix. In this case, you can count me out, as I think I can wait a little longer and see the whole film in its entirety next summer. In the end, though, Hollywood has won again: getting audiences to spend their hard earned money on a fourth mindless action flick, which the majority of audiences are probably going to only to catch a glimpse of The Dark Knight Rises.