Sequel-itis

TBC

Yesterday, Variety reported that John Krasinski’s surprise horror hit A Quiet Place has a sequel in the works at Paramount Studios. AQP hit U.S. theaters on April 6. That’s just under three weeks ago. The film has been roundly praised as both unique and genuinely creepy, with excellent performances most notably from the younger members of the cast, Noah Jupe and Millicent Simmonds. I haven’t yet seen the film, but I’m eager to based on the critical and box office reception.

That being said, the way Paramount pounced on the success of the film to set a sequel in motion irked me. I understand that however artful any film may be, Hollywood is indeed a business and is going to run like one. And I understand my own lack of understanding of the minutiae involved in making a successful film and profit at the box office. I have no MBA, no experience on any boards of trustees, no management positions on my résumé. But I do have a saturation point, and Hollywood has reached it with the sequels.

Searching through the theater releases of 2018 on Movie Insider, there will have been over 15 sequels by year’s end. That is not including the second or third installments in major movie franchises such as The Avengers or Star Wars, nor is it including remakes or reboots of existing films and series such as Mary Poppins or Tomb Raider. There are spinoffs, and sequels to those spinoffs, such as Creed 2. The box office is drowning in parts 2 and 3 and 4.

I am not wholly against sequels, series, or franchises. I enjoy plenty of them, really. But the endless parade is becoming tiresome, and the lightning speed of Paramount in setting forth on another with AQP is a prime example of how habitual the franchise formula has become in Hollywood. This isn’t new. You can go back to the 30s, if not before, and find exactly the same patterns. The Thin Man, Topper, the Golddiggers films… all examples of major studios cashing in on major successes. This somewhat proves the point, however, that Hollywood seems to be running very much like the studio system days of yore, where the executives exerted much more power over the material that reached the audiences.

What I am hoping for is some savvy from original screenwriters and filmmakers who can see a market for sequel-weary movie fans (like moi). I’m hoping that some of the releases still to come this year will provide relief from theater drudgery. To be fair, and realistic, it’s completely the norm for a majority of movies to be blah and a handful of them to be standouts. Nothing new about that. But The Suits do seem to be running the show a bit more these days; Hollywood looks as much like a factory as it does a cinematic mecca lately. Here’s hoping that the second half of 2018 brings some more original material.

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