Why Does Hollywood Produce So Many Sequels?


You’re seeing a movie in the theater and the trailers begin. After a little while, you begin to notice a pattern. Every single preview is for a sequel, spinoff, or remake. It’s something else from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) or Star Wars, or some other high-grossing film that has now somehow expanded into twenty other somewhat related films. Why?

It is clearer now than ever before that Hollywood is in it for the money, not the art. Rather than create something new and original, Hollywood is determined to churn out as many sequels as they possibly can before the audience is fed up with the repetition. And once the audience is tired of one impossibly long franchise, the movie industry will move on to another. Let’s take a deeper look into what’s in it for Hollywood:

Sequels often build upon established fan bases and proven formulas, which can lead to guaranteed box office success. Studios are more willing to invest in projects with a built-in audience. Creating a sequel to a successful film can be seen as a safer bet for studios compared to investing in completely new ideas. While there are still risks involved, the success of the original can provide a solid foundation. The same goes for reboots and remakes. We’re already familiar with the story, but seeing it in a brand new, more modern way could bring in even more watchers and dollars. Hollywood is capitalizing on brand recognition. Fans are more likely to watch a film if they are familiar with the characters, storylines, or the actors and franchise as a whole. In addition, marketing a sequel is often easier and less expensive than promoting an entirely new concept. The original film has already laid the groundwork, so marketing efforts can focus on reminding audiences of what they loved about the first film. Successful film franchises also often have lucrative merchandising opportunities, including toys, clothing, video games, and more. Producing sequels can extend the lifespan of these merchandise sales.

While creating all these sequels and remakes appears to be largely about money, expanding the universes of these franchises can create a sense of continuity and keep audiences engaged over multiple films.

Overall, while the prevalence of sequels can sometimes feel overwhelming, they are a significant part of Hollywood’s business model due to their proven track record of success and the various benefits they offer to studios. Sequels keep Hollywood alive, but where does that leave the audience? Where does that leave those hungry for something new?