Last summer, sequels to “Star Trek,” “X-Men,” “Independence Day,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Alice in Wonderland” all performed worse than their predecessors.
Now, even though they could be poised for a repeat of that scenario, Hollywood studios are sticking with the same strategy. Why? At a time when the risks of failure in the movie business have become more costly, studios are still focusing their efforts on films that are perceived as safe bets, especially with overseas audiences that increasingly drive profits. Additionally, the movie business is notoriously slow to change course because of the time it takes to make big films. So, in some cases, it may be too late for studios to pull the plug on movies that already appear doomed long before they hit theaters.
“Man, this is depressing,” one prominent producer, speaking on condition of anonymity to protect studio relationships, said of the summer lineup. “It is just entirely sequels and franchises, and something’s got to give.”
The damage? An estimated 5-10% fewer ticket sales for the period between May and Labor Day, leading to possibly the worst sales revenue of the decade.
What’s fascinating to me are the institutional factors that continue to lead us into this era of non-stop comic book movies and franchises. No studio executive will ever get fired for greenlighting another Pirates film — the Pirates franchise has generated over $3.7 billion worldwide.
Valerian on the other hand…