Have you ever asked yourself why there are so many sequels? I’m sure you have at least once gone, “Why is that getting another movie?” Do we really need four chipmunk movies? How many ice ages have we actually had?
You probably have an inkling that the answers relates to money. “Toy Story” was a hit, everyone loved it, they will pay to see another one, so we’ll make another. There’s also the new trend of splitting the final film of a series into two parts. That scene isn’t always because there was too much story to do the original justice in one film. I believe Harry Potter was the only one that warranted a part 1 and 2. But that ploy is all about money. We know people will pay to see it. While this holds true for the majority of sequels, that isn’t usually the biggest driving factor.
Hollywood is afraid to take risks. Sequels, adapting an existing work, and remakes diminish the amount of risk involved in a project. It takes a lot of time and money to make a movie (and TV show, but we’ll focus on the big screen). There needs to be a valid reason for taking a risk on a project, that’s why we currently live in the age of sequels and books-to-film. Hollywood needs to guarantee that they will make back at least what they dump into a project. They read all sorts of scripts that push the envelope and would make great films, but if they don’t know for sure that people will pay to sit through it, they won’t touch it.
Are sequels a bad thing? No, as long as they are well done. There are a lot of instances where the second film is worse than the original. For example, Temple of Doom, Quantum of Solace, Cars 2. But this isn’t always the case. There have been some really great sequels over the years; including, The Dark Knight Rises, Godfather II, and Empire Strikes Back.
To sum it up, Hollywood doesn’t like to take risks unless they know that people will pay to see it. They don’t want to make something that they think would be a blockbuster, only to have it be a flop. So if you see a trailer that is different, if it appeals it you, go out and see it in theaters. Show that the originality is worth the risk. Only then will we stop seeing so many sequels to things that don’t really need a sequel.