So... in light of the podcast we just aired, if you wonder why studios are more sequel/prequel/remake/reboot happy these days than ever, just check the below stats.
Of the top 10 highest grossing films so far this year, 7 of them are "follow-up" films. Of the remaining 3, only 1 of them is what I'd call an *original* standalone effort. The other 2 are comic book adaptations; 1 could be called a reboot, because there was a Captain America movie before this year's release. Previous Thor movie projects have all been anime.
So, once again with feeling... 7 of the top grossing films released in theaters so far this year are all parts of an existing franchise; 2 are adaptations of immensely popular comic books, leaving 1 film based on an *original* idea.
And these are just domestic numbers. For all the trashing critics poured on Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the movie has made almost $350 million thus far - and that's just in the USA alone! Throw in foreign box office, and it's grossed over $1.1 billion, on a $195 million budget, which doesn't include marketing/P&A costs of course. But still... the point is that folks are flocking to these movies, and some of are seeing them more than once, maybe even thrice.
These figures don't include home video/VOD sales/rentals either.
Of course the cheapest film on the list - the film with the lowest reported budget is the film based on the *original* idea - Bridesmaids. And of the 10, half of them were well-received critically.
The numbers tell the tale... well not entirely; but, if you're a studio exec and you're tasked with financing projects that are most likely to attract audiences widely, and generate huge revenue, and hopefully profit, or else, what would you do? For the record I've only see 3 of these films.
And yes, I know it's not all about box office... or at least it shouldn't be. Alas...
1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 $371,844,889
2 Transformers: Dark of the Moon $349,684,855
3 The Hangover Part II $254,325,595
4 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides $240,461,924
5 Fast Five $209,837,675
6 Cars 2 $187,360,986
7 Thor $181,030,624
8 Captain America: The First Avenger $169,480,129
9 Bridesmaids $168,145,330
10 Kung Fu Panda 2 $164,342,319