Do we all remember Grease 2? Okay, now have you actually seen Grease 2? Yea, there’s a reason for that. Moving on to Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. That’s a thing. Why is that a movie? And there’s a Titanic II (just going to let that sink in for a bit).
Why do we make sequels? Do we make them because we love the original film or do the Hollywood moneymakers just want to continue their business? We go to see a film because in some way we’re excited to see the story. We might want to see the story because it’s from a book or because it has a specific actor in it. We might want to go and see the land that it’s portraying or the decade it’s reminiscing. Either way, after we see that initial film, and we hear that there’s going to be another one, suddenly an entire array of possibilities come up.
One situation can be that the film is amazing. It has all the aspects of the first one, but it’s better. It brings up the characters and the story. It pulls at your heartstrings and brings you back to that initial moment when you thought: Is that it?! Is that the end?! Didn’t we all love Catching Fire? (At least I did). I waited outside the London premiere and I didn’t even see the film. People all over the world pre-ordered their midnight premiere tickets. And that’s only the second out of the three films.
Or this can happen. Just by the name you’re thinking why in the realm of possible film outcomes can this actually be approved and put into motion. The idea that this was proposed and given the green light is just beyond your capability to function that you shake your head in utter disbelief that people out there have a job in Hollywood before you. Now, go read the first paragraph again for examples.
Reason one is why the Marvel films are booming at the moment (and the fact that those movies are just amazing in general). Not all sequels are bad. They can be a wonderful way to experience more of a world that captivated you for two or more hours in the first movie. They can take what they know works and make it better. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back was worth everything that was put into it. Films such as Silence of the Lambs (yes, that’s a sequel), Toy Story 2 and 3, and the Batman films are all examples of how a sequel can work. And it can make you want to return for more and more.
However, sequels can also be one of the worst mistakes that anyone can make. Who actually liked the newer Star Wars films (besides the children who never knew the difference)? They can be the films that audiences will make fun of over and over. If one movie is a blockbuster that can grab attention from all over the world, then why ruin it by trying to test fate once again? All of the pieces fell together and magically created something amazing and people might just be going a bit too far by thinking that it will happen again without any new story to tell. That’s what happened with Grease 2. It’s why Titanic II doesn’t make sense, even if it wasn’t based on the original Titanic characters. Sometimes one is enough.
In my opinion, sequels exist to either answer a question, to bring audiences back to the characters they love, to continue a series, or to make money. They can be utterly amazing or horrible cringe-worthy. Either way, they will continue to be produced and we will continue to be bewildered as we watch the trailers for their stories.