With the highly anticipated release of “Captain America: Civil War” at the end of this week, the summer blockbuster season is well underway. This is the season where production studios release films they believe will garner the most popularity or attention with the general audience, or contain the most significant commercial appeal. Unfortunately, it is also the era of movie sequels that are unnecessary and contribute nothing to the film industry other than a fat check.
That’s not to say all movie sequels are bad, but name the last time you liked a sequel better than the original. Go on. Can’t? Here, I’ll help. “The Dark Knight,” “Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Terminator 2,” “Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back” — all great films that surpass the original. But let’s face it — these days, great sequels are far and few between, and rarely ever do better than the original.
But, you ask, why is it that Hollywood continues to produce these movies if they’re so bad? Well, I’ll tell you: it’s because it’s what the general audience wants to see. It’s because these movies, low-caliber as they are, do amazingly well in the box office. They sell tickets. And every ticket sold is essentially a message from the audience to the studio saying they want to see more.
It’s precisely this reason that we are seeing “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” and “Ice Age: Collision Course,” the fifth movie of its franchise. I believe it’s safe to say that Hollywood is in denial when it comes to the phrase “less is more.”
Don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed Sid, Manny and Diego flailing about struggling to care for a human baby, but nowhere in that film was there a strong enough plot or group of characters to warrant another four movies. The same can be said for similar franchises as the ones listed above — especially “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
Now, there was no hole in the market that this movie needed to fill to begin with, but here we are two years after the initially unnecessary reboot, a month away from the release of its sequel. Why? Because in 2014, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” made $493.3 million, nearly $115 million more than “Mad Max: Fury Road” — a movie that was nominated for 10 Oscars and won six.
That’s right. Giant mutated talking turtles attracted more viewers than a film critics are dubbing one of the greatest action films of the 21st century. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d much rather see a film with spectacular practical effects than a movie that relies entirely on CGI and actors’ abilities to talk to an empty space and make it look real.
I’d be lying if I said there aren’t a few particular movies I’m waiting with bated breath to see. Anyone who knows me could tell you that I am practically jumping out of my skin to see “Captain America: Civil War” and — later this summer — “X-Men: Apocalypse,” but those are already set up to be fantastic.
I’m really holding my breath to see the long-awaited “Independence Day: Resurgence” and “Ghostbusters.” While “Independence Day: Resurgence” won’t have the charismatic performance of Will Smith to back it, I am hopeful this sequel will enhance the rapidly growing culture of “alien” movies. As for “Ghostbusters,” as we get closer to the release date, I grow more hesitant to get my hopes up — particularly with the amazingly underwhelming response the trailer got in that it has broken into the top 100 most disliked movie trailers on the Internet. But that’s an entire other discussion.
The bottom line is, every time you go to the movies and purchase a movie ticket, you are voting for what films you want to see next. So this summer, when you go to the movies and revel in the cinematic experience, don’t go see a movie because it looks stupid, or so bad it’d be funny. Make your money count and tell Hollywood what content you really want to see on the big screen. You have all the power here — use it wisely.