On The Issue Of Film Franchises

One look at the upcoming movie releases for the year quickly sheds a light on a number of film franchises that are set to continue. From January to December, every month will feature at least one film that is part of a movie franchise. This is nothing new, as the last few years have already been filled with movie sequels, prequels and spin-offs.

A popular critique of the current Hollywood climate is that there is very little originality left in it. Most studios and producers are content to churn out another film in a popular franchise, banking on the fact that a movie similar to it made money in the past and that it too will make a good amount of money upon its release. There is little that can be said to refute this claim as the reality is that the theaters are just being overrun by film franchises. Calling out a studio or a producer as lazy because of yet another film franchise release would be unfair. The primary goal of the studio is to make money and if film franchises are the safer bets then more of them are likely to show up in the theaters. However, even if a studio does release another film in a long-running franchise it does not necessarily mean that it is laziness being showcased.

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For a film to warrant its own franchise, the original must first be very good. No film will warrant more like it if the first one to emerge was already a cinematic disaster. This means that film franchises mostly if not entirely emerge from a really good foundation. Think of the “Dark Knight” franchise. The first of the films featured astute casting and excellent production. It allowed the film to gain momentum and for the establishment of a franchise. Given the fact that the film already had a following it before it debuted probably helped it rake in more money but it is the quality of the first film that mobilized audiences and enticed them to see what would follow in the series.

The glaring lack of new film ideas however, is very noticeable. The 2013 movie calendar is filled to the brim with the aforementioned franchises and there are even a few remakes. The question then becomes, why is there a lack of truly new movies? Is it because of a lack of ideas as some have suggested or is it because the money may not be there for a truly new movie?

It all goes back to film quality. Simply put, audiences are smarter now than they have ever been. They know when a movie is well-made and they can also tell when a movie is just plain bad. Movies are similar to bets in this sense. A movie that is truly new is a bit like gambling on an unknown racehorse. It may be good, it may be bad but either way it will cost money while the prospect of it earning money is not as certain. A movie franchise on the other hand, is a sure thing. It carries little risk with not as much payoff but still remains the wiser option. The only reason for film franchises continuing to dominate may very well be just the fact that most studio executives are not very willing gamblers.


About the author:

Nicole McGrey is a teacher at Edinburg High School for 5 years and currently taking PHd at University of Illinois. Her writing includes few notes about Eric Schiffer . Follow her on Twitter @NicoleMcGrey.

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