Sunday, June 05, 2016

Sequel Sequel Sequlitis

The Rporter has some odd analysis of what ails the tentpole business.

Hollywood's New Problem: Sequels Moviegoers Don't Want

Sequel after sequel have disappointed at the box office this year. This weekend's underpowered opening of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is just the latest example. And that is perplexing and alarming Hollywood studios, who are addicted to turning films of all sizes and genres into ongoing franchises, from comedies to the smallest horror films to tentpoles. ...

It's not unusual for franchise installments to dip, but the declines have become massive, both in terms of opening weekend and a film's ultimate global gross. The canary in the coal mine was Universal's Ride Along 2, the January comedy that grossed $90.9 million in North America, down 33 percent from Ride Along in 2014. February saw Paramount's Zoolander 2 gross 53 percent less domestically, and 32 percent less globally, than the 2001 film, when accounting for inflation.

Now, sequelitis is damaging the health of the summer box office, but it's too late for studios to inoculate themselves. Over the weekend, Turtles became the latest sequel to lag, opening to $35.3 million, compared to $65.6 million for the 2014 reboot. ...

If anyone thought sequel success to be a sure thing, a glance at the 2016 worldwide box-office chart proves the power of originals over sequels for Captain America: Civil War is the only sequel that's been able to out-gross a pair of original tentpoles: Disney Animation Studios Zootopia, which has just crossed $1 billion worldwide, and Disney's The Jungle Book ($895.1 million). ...

Tip for The Hollywood Reporter re The Jungle Book: An animated remake (CG) of an animated original (hand-drawn) doesn't constitute an "original tentpole" except in the fevered brain of an entertainment trade publication.

And though THR admits that some sequels have done real well this year (principally the super hero output), the trade journal tiptoes around the ever-present reality that when a studio turns out a pale echo of an original film, audiences tend not to go see it.

If box office declines "have become massive", it's because the drops are tied to features that simply aren't very compelling.


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