ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How Sequels Destroy the Movie Industry

Updated on May 26, 2020
Chriswillman90 profile image

Krzysztof is a lifelong future tech junkie investigating the latest stories from companies like Apple, Samsung, Google, and Amazon.


How Nostalgia Makes Disney Billions

It's another year but don't be surprised if you see even more of the same material.

It's that seemingly endless parade of more sequels, another prequel, and of course another 1980's or 90's classic movie remake.

Will it ever end and what power do those unoriginal ideas have?

Apparently they have more power than we're led to believe at least in terms of the box office numbers. The genre that benefits the most from this is the superhero or action genre. This genre has lately established a complete rule over the numbers.

Despite unoriginal ideas at times and a slew of uninteresting characters, the millions if not billions of dollars drawn worldwide has been nothing short of incredible.

It is clear that spin-offs and more prequels and sequels will continue to be made in those genres because their box office archives guarantee their creation. However, with comic book characters in particular, there is a distinction whether they are truly prequels, sequels, or remakes.

Often the movies that are created based upon those heroic characters gather their material from the comics themselves, which would be similar to movies based off of books or novels.

If we limit what a true prequel or sequel is then the power generated by the numbers will start to diminish substantially. So as I explore this idea further, I'll be more specific in what defines a sequel and find out if they still have control in Hollywood.

This means that I'll skip over discussing low rated yet inexplicably gratuitous money making machines like the Transformers franchise.

What's the Definition of a Prequel or Sequel?

I consider a prequel or sequel to be based off a movie created from an original idea.

This means that any movies that are based off of books, comic books, and film shorts would not qualify.

So recently popular books like the Harry Potter franchise, the Hunger Games, and even the Twilight series that have been turned into movies wouldn't qualify in this discussion. Even if the books are dreadful the subsequent movies that are based off them do not qualify.

What about original movie trilogies like Star Wars?

Technically movie trilogies do fit into this discussion because they are sequels or prequels based on an original idea.

Unless the movie trilogy is based off a book series like the Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit then they are considered to be prequels or sequels. This matters greatly because the inclusion of such iconic trilogies does strengthen the argument for more sequels and trilogies.

However once we begin to explore those along with other ideas further you'll start to see how Hollywood may be slowly unraveling.


What's More Important: Money or Rotten Tomatoes?

I'm criticizing the movie industry because I believe there are way too many unoriginal ideas. I also don't agree with turning every successful original movie into a prequel or sequel.

At times it seems like there are no more new ideas out there. However if this was the case, then award ceremonies like the Golden Globes and the Oscars wouldn't exist because those accolades are primarily reserved for new ingenious creations.

Unfortunately it's often the case where the most critically acclaimed movies do not reach the audience or make as much money as the more critiqued movies.

Why is this the case?

It's easier to sell an audience on a movie they've already seen and enjoyed. It's far more challenging to sell them on an idea they're unfamiliar with and that's unproven. This is why a lot of those critically acclaimed movies have limited releases until the audience begins to warm up to them.

Going further there's also a big difference between critical acclaim and receiving accolades from things such as the academy.

Big budget blockbusters can be critically acclaimed such as Avatar or Black Panther but that doesn't necessarily mean they'll receive special awards. They are more likely to garner accolades/awards in sound or special effects, but they'll likely escape the major categories such as best actor/actress, best director, and best picture.

This means that there are actually three categories movies fit into; those that make money, those receiving critical acclaim, and those receiving awards.

Which of those categories is the most important for the movie industry?

The obvious choice is the money making category. The amount of money a movie makes gives the industry its power and continues to drive their success. If we keep that in mind we can see why prequels, sequels, and remakes hold a special place in the movie industry's hearts.

How Much Value Does a Sequel Have?

After deciphering what a sequel means, we can finally begin to figure out if they are ruining Hollywood.

A sequel or prequel's power varies and is strictly dependent on how good the next movie really is.

Does it offer something new to the audience, is it as good as the original, or is it even better than the original? A successful sequel will manage to be at least as good or even better than the original, and those movies are a rare breed.

There are only a few movies I would consider to be as good or even better than the original and many of them have already been featured in numerous top ten lists of prequels, sequels, or remakes.

There are more movies that would be characterized to be good or almost as good as the original, but a good majority of the sequels and prequels I'd consider to be in the not as good to downright awful group.

It's that majority group that often garner harsh criticism and generate poor box office numbers. This is not always the case and there have been plenty of not so good sequels that have actually done well in the financial department. This is primarily due to their connection to the original, hit movie. That connection is very important to filmmakers and production companies because it's something they can always lean on when they know the movie will be of low quality/substance.

There will continue to be significant variations in how unoriginal movies are perceived, but money will always drive sequels and prequels.

It doesn't matter how low rated a movie is as long as the production value is low and the money generated is considered to be fairly successful. The genre that probably benefits the most from this is horror. The horror genre has probably generated the most sequels, prequels, and especially remakes out of all the other genres.

The Power of Horror Movies

Nothing makes the industry happier than a movie that takes costs low but takes in millions of dollars.

The horror genre often has movies with an unusually low budget and if an original horror movie becomes a hit, then they can score immensely.

One of the lowest budget horror movies, The Blair Witch Project, was created on a meager budget of under 1 million with some sources claiming it be as low as under $50,000 when first produced, and it has grossed over 200 million dollars worldwide.

More recently the Paranormal Activity and the Conjuring franchises scored a similar feat. The amount of financial success those movies generated meant that there would be a plethora of sequels and prequels to be made.

For the Blair Witch Project, its sequel was a failure and further sequels based on the original were axed, but the Paranormal Activity and Conjuring franchises had multiple prequels and sequels that continued to be financially successful despite bad ratings.

Those examples represent the disconnect between the quality and the money movies make.

The industry doesn't care if the movies are low rated as long as they generate profit and unless that stops we'll continue to see copies of original movies.


The State of the Movie Industry

There are currently no worries regarding sequels, prequels, and remakes because they will continue to generate money despite often receiving bad ratings.

Occasionally there will be huge box office bombs, but they'll balance those out with surprise, financial hits.

Even if the bad eventually outweighs the good, comic book movies will always provide the numbers the studios require. There is so much material available from comics that I doubt they'll run out of ideas anytime soon with that genre.

I think there are much bigger problems for the industry than the content produced. The repercussions from what happened with The Interview could slowly eat away at the numbers and rising movie ticket prices will gradually push moviegoers away. Other issues include the rise of streaming movies at home due to convenience and low costs.

The movie theaters are trying to keep up with reconstructing the theaters themselves, the chairs we sit on, allowing easier ways to purchase tickets at the theater and online, giving away specials and deals on tickets and refreshments, offering food and drink services during the movie, and emphasizing 4D and IMAX viewing for the best theater experience.

I do feel that eventually the way we view movies will change the same way we used to view bookstores, libraries, and currently TV viewing. With the introduction of streaming services and always growing new technologies for our convenience, the movie industry will have to retool the way they show us their movies.

Despite all of these potential changes there still exists a magic when we go to a movie theater. It's the smell of popcorn, it's watching the movie on the big screen, it's that collective laughter or fear we share with our fellow moviegoers, and we can't replicate that charm when streaming a movie onto a laptop.

Will the movie industry ever be annihilated by anything?

That question is hard to answer, but it seems unlikely and it certainly won't be due to a lack of originality. There will always be new material out there and fantastic movies to enjoy. This past year has offered some brilliant, original ideas and they will continue to do so.

The fear of annihilation, if it ever happens, will be through other means but by then we might have a new Hollywood with creative ideas that come from us. As long as we continue to crave entertainment, then movies will never go away and the movie industry will not meet a slow death.

Your Thoughts!

Do you enjoy sequels?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      2 years ago

      I enjoyed the article. I like that you separated movies derived from books and movies based on original material.

    • Chriswillman90 profile imageAUTHOR

      Krzysztof Willman 

      6 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      You have a point lions44 about the sequels bringing in additional funding, but I just wish they didn't sacrifice so much quality in order to make a quick buck. But like you stated, not every film is terrible and in fact many are films that aren't necessarily mainstream.

      Thank you Alphadogg16 and that bugs me a little bit as well regarding how even the original may not be very good though they still get a sequel. They can be fun and it all depends on your mindset. If you're going to the movies just to see brilliant special effects and explosions, then go ahead and see Transformers or something similar.

      As long as you know what to expect then go for it and enjoy.

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Interesting article Chriswilman90. I am in agreement that Hollywood does appear to have lost its originality. Some of the movies were so horrible the first time and the remakes are not much better. Sequels can be fun if they are good, I'm currently impatiently awaiting part 2 of the Avengers to hit the screen. Thumbs up on your hub though.

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 

      6 years ago from the PNW

      You're correct in the lack of originality with regards to mainstream movies. But the sequels, etc. bring in big bucks which allow the studios to fund projects that make it to Sundance and other festivals. Granted they have become a little too corporate as well, but at least good films are still being made. Just have to find them.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)