Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2 has made more money on its first day in Australia than any other film in history. That's no surprise given the success of the Potter franchise, but it's also emblematic of the dominant trend in today's movie industry: sequels are the easiest way to turn a dollar.
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Sequels and remakes are hardly a new trend in Hollywood, but they do now appear to absolutely dominate the landscape. Consider this list compiled by Deutsche Bank, predicting what it thinks will be the 10 most successful movies in Australia over the next 12 months and their likely box office take:
- Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2, $50 million (July 2011)
- Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, $48 million (July 2011)
- Happy Feet 2, $38 million (November 2011)
- Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1, $34 million (November 2011)
- Alvin And The Chipmunks 3, $28 million (December 2011)
- Puss In Boots, $27 million (December 2011)
- Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows, $26 million (January 2012)
- Madagascar 3, $26 million (June 2012)
- The Avengers, $26 million (May 2012)
- Men In Black 3, $25 million (May 2012)
The only movie in this list that isn't entirely a sequel is The Avengers, and that's hardly a new concept either: it brings together a bunch of Marvel characters (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the Incredible Hulk) who have all appeared in recent flicks of their own.
Obviously, it's much easier to predict the success of a known quantity such as a sequel than a brand new franchise. But when there are this many sequels on the agenda, other movies are going to struggle to even get themselves onto a decent number of screens. Quite apart from potentially representing creative bankruptcy, it also raises the question of what movies will be worthy of their own sequels in future years.
Making sequels is an idea as old as Hollywood itself, but it's particularly unsurprising in the current entertainment climate. Competition from the internet (both as an alternative source of entertainment and a conduit for torrenting) means that we're less likely to head out to the movies in the first place. 'Event' flicks (perhaps with a sprinkling of 3D) appear to be the most reliable mechanism for attracting viewers, but that's not going to work for everyone. (In that top 10 list, there is one film I want to see and one my younger relatives will make me see. The rest don't interest me.)
Which sequels do have you have fond memories of? Which ones were a major mistake? And does a sequel make it more likely that you'll actually hit the cinema rather than waiting for the DVD (or the torrent)? Let's hear your take in the comments.
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