Ever wonder why so many sequels are just “more of the same?” Well, I would bet that it is not because the creative types don’t have new ideas so much as it is studio bean counters who want to play things safe to insure a sequel brings in the same kind of pay the original film did.
Case in point – the sequel currently in development to last spring’s teens with superpowers film Chronicle.
Max Landis, the writer of the first film, has been working hard on the script for the followup. But it seems that he has been encountering some resistance from the studio. The Playlist caught up with Max’s father, John Landis (Animal House, The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf In London), who reported -
[Max] wrote a sequel and it’s amazing… and the studio read it and said, ‘We want ‘Chronicle’ again!’ And he said, ‘No, this is the sequel, it’s the evolution, and they said ‘No, we want that movie again!’ So it’s difficult, we’re dealing with a difficult business.’
This is a none-too-surprising turn of events considering that studios are pretty much run by business school graduates who rely on past consumer habits in their decision making rather than taking a chance on something new.
Now granted, Chronicle was something of a risk for the studio, but with a budget of $12 million it was a small gamble that paid off big in the amount of $126 million at the box office. One would think that that kind of return would earn Landis and director Josh Trank some leeway as to what they do with a sequel. But it seems that the studio is more interested in playing it safe and protecting their investment rather than trusting that the audience will continue to follow the filmmakers as they move on to the next phase of the story they want to tell. Time will tell who wins this particular battle in the continuing war between art and commerce. I just hope that it isn’t the audience who loses.