Sometimes its not how much your movie makes that will determine if a sequel will get made but how much your movie cost that will be the determining factor.
Case in point – last year’s The Green Hornet starring Seth Rogen. Despite middling reviews, the film did some fairly respectable numbers at the international box office, enough so that some folks have speculated about a second cinematic adventure for the classic old time radio hero. But in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, producer Neal Moritz stated that it is the film’s $120 million budget that is standing in the way of a sequel.
The movie did almost $250 million and was actually very well liked, but we made the movie for too much money. One, we made it in L.A. for certain reasons, and two, we decided to go to 3D — that added another $10 million. If I had done it in a tax-rebate state and not done 3D, it would have been considered a huge financial success for the studio. So we’re not making a sequel right now.
Personally, I’m not all that disappointed. As a fan of the original radio series, outside of a few visual flourishes from Michel Gondry, I didn’t like the film much at all.
But Moritz’s comments spark a question in me. Will this become a new trend in Hollywood to not make sequels just because your first film made a profit but only when your film makes a certain big enough profit? While I hope not, I wouldn’t be surprised. It almost feels like the next logical step coming from a system that is increasingly putting the emphasis on the “business” part of “show business” rather than finding a nice common ground in the middle. I can see the businessman’s mindset working to say “Why invest time and money into a project that will only have a small return when we could invest in something with a bigger return.” Understandable, but I see that line of thought leading to an even smaller diversity of films than we already get at the box office. And no one wins then.