Movie sequels don’t always live up to the originals

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore

“The Hunger Games” has two sequels: “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay.”

Kaitlyn Hammond

Look at the show listings for any movie theater and there’s bound to be a sequel. From “The Avengers” to “Harry Potter,” the movie industry has recently seen too many sequels to count.

Since the film industry began, the success of sequels has been a widely debated topic. According to Den of Geek, one of the world’s first sequels, “The Singing Fool,” made more money than the original, “The Jazz Singer.” On the other hand, sequels like “Dracula’s Daughter” failed in comparison to the originals.

Senior Michael Topper of Ocean prefers original movies to sequels because of the closure they provide.

“I don’t like movie sequels in general because very few movies that end up with sequels are made with the intention of becoming a series, so they have completed plots and the end makes sense,” Topper said. “Then you add a second one and it just ruins where you left the first one.”

For some, sequels fall short in the storyline or derail from the original characters’ personalities. Others do not want sequels in the first place, or refuse to watch sequels because of bad reviews. According to Hollywood Reporter, “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” earned 59 percent less than its predecessor, “Snow White and the Huntsman.”

Senior Kera McGovern of Tinton Falls said the strategy behind sequels was not in the best interest of viewers, but instead producers.  

“Personally, I feel that most sequels are only made to profit a franchise rather than give the viewers more of the story,” McGovern said.

But some sequels go above and beyond the originals, expanding upon the original story and making more money than the original. “American Pie 2” brought in over $40 million more than the original, according to Hollywood Reporter.

A study conducted by New York University determined that successful sequels surpass the originals because they already have a built-in audience. Fans of the original movies are likely to see the sequel.

Sequels have come into the spotlight recently with additions to childhood classics. In 2018, “Incredibles,” “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Goosebumps” and “Mary Poppins” all saw sequels.

Junior Jenn McCue of Freehold said that childhood sequels often pale in comparison to originals.

“I realized that with most Disney shows that people want back like ‘That’s So Raven’ and ‘Kim Possible,’ the producers just find a way to ruin those shows for them,” McCue said.

Despite the great sequel debate, the movie industry will continue to develop sequels, for better or for worse.